ACJPS calls for accountability regarding war crimes in Sudan

As many as 120,000 Sudanese fled the conflict in West Darfur and now live in dire conditions across the border in Chad (social media)


The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) has raised urgent concerns over the escalating humanitarian crisis caused by Sudan’s armed conflict and demands justice for the victims. Through three separate appeals, ACJPS addresses the critical issues of missing persons and targeted attacks on human rights defenders and calls for the establishment of accountability mechanisms.

In its appeal issued on June 26, the New York-based ACJPS calls upon the Sudanese authorities, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) to address the case of “the thousands of missing people across Sudan since armed conflict erupted on April 15”.

ACJPS emphasises the authorities’ obligation “to conduct independent, transparent, and effective investigations to determine the whereabouts of all missing persons”. Sudan should observe and respect the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which it ratified on August 10, 2021.

ACJPS further urges “the release of detainees without conditions, or their presentation before the courts” and calls on the relevant authorities and forces to allow relatives of victims to identify gravesites and facilitate proper burials.

Human rights defenders

The second appeal, of June 28, concerns the violence in West Darfur. ACJPS expresses deep concern about the safety of human rights defenders in the state capital El Geneina, as the SAF and the RSF target these defenders specifically because of their crucial work on human rights, ACJPS says.

Compounding the situation, a communication blackout since May 22 has isolated El Geneina, hindering the defenders’ access to assistance.

According to the centre, the conflict in El Geneina escalated when “non-Arab tribes raided a weapons store, leading to Arab factions aligning with the RSF against non-Arabs”. This resulted in thousands of people killed, including a number of lawyers.

ACJPS calls on the SAF and RSF to immediately cease targeting civilians and urges neighbouring countries to ensure the safety of refugees, including human rights defenders, while granting them legal status.

Accountability mechanisms

In its third appeal, issued yesterday, ACJPS underlines the need for robust accountability mechanisms at national, regional, and international levels to address the serious crimes committed in Sudan.

At the national level, the centre highlights Sudan’s various laws and legal frameworks, such as the Sudanese Criminal Act and the Transitional Justice Act, which “address accountability and promote reconciliation”. However, these mechanisms need strengthening through fair trials, increased prosecution capacity, and enhanced victim assistance.

To address the crisis effectively, ACJPS proposes several measures which include Sudan’s government establishing a “robust and independent domestic accountability mechanism”, and the African Union’s (AU) Peace and Security Council “establishing a dedicated mechanism for investigating and prosecuting those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity”.