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‘It is time for Sudan to deliver on human rights’: Amnesty International

December 20 - 2019 LONDON
The village of Kombo Aftas in El Gezira demolished by the authorities, April 25, 2018 (RD)
The village of Kombo Aftas in El Gezira demolished by the authorities, April 25, 2018 (RD)

One year after protests broke out in Sudan, the new transitional authorities must live up to the hopes and expectations of the Sudanese people, Amnesty International said in a statement on Thursday.

“A year after the Sudanese people took to the streets to protest a spike in food prices ultimately ending three decades of the Al Bashir regime, they can celebrate that their collective action brought an end to suffocating repression and revived hopes for a better Sudan,” says Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“The transitional authorities must honour the commitments they made to restore the Rule of Law and protect human rights. The Sudanese people deserve nothing less.”

According to the statement, Sudanese people’s hopes “now lie squarely with the transitional authorities headed by Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, and backed by the Transitional Constitutional Charter, which enshrines the country’s most comprehensive Bill of Rights yet.  

Responsibility

“In a positive step in end November, the government repealed the Public Order laws and brought to an end the era of egregious violations particularly targeting women’s rights and freedoms.

“The victims have the right to truth, justice and reparations under international law” - Seif Magango, Amnesty International

“The responsibility on Prime Minister Hamdok’s shoulders is as large as the aspirations of the Sudanese people who suffered decades of serious human rights violations, and crimes under international law including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The victims have the right to truth, justice and reparations under international law,” said Magango.

As stated by the international human rights watchdog, Khartoum must “proactively address accountability for these crimes by among other things, rebuilding the credibility and capacity of the justice system to thoroughly and effectively investigate and prosecute the crimes”. 

The Sudanese government is also required under international law to transfer deposed President Omar Al Bashir to the International Criminal Court, “in compliance with arrest warrants pending against him for crimes committed in Darfur between 2003 and 2010”.

Hope

“While the recent appointment of a new Attorney General and Chief Justice offers hope that accountability will be a priority for the transitional authorities, successful prosecution of those found responsible for grave human rights violations would greatly bolster confidence in the national judicial system,” the statement reads.

“Out of 185 people killed during anti-government protests in September 2013, Sudan’s prosecution office has only investigated and tried one case to date. In this single case, the accused was eventually acquitted for lack of sufficient evidence.

“The people of Sudan braved live bullets, tear gas, brutal beatings and degrading treatment for months because they believed a better future was possible; it is now time for the interim authorities to make these hopes a reality.” - Seif Magango

“Between December 2018 and 11 April 2019, at least 77 protestors were killed, and hundreds injured across Sudan by security forces. On 3 June, the security forces, notably the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), brutally dispersed the massive sit-in in Khartoum with live ammunition and teargas, killing more than 100 people and injuring at least 700 others.

“The transitional authorities of Sudan must ensure that members of the security forces who committed horrific crimes or used excessive force against protestors are held accountable in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty.

“The people of Sudan braved live bullets, tear gas, brutal beatings and degrading treatment for months because they believed a better future was possible; it is now time for the interim authorities to make these hopes a reality,” Magango stated.

Violence

Sudan’s Attorney General announced on Thursday that the Public Prosecution has started to investigate all those accused of using violence against innocent civilians in Sudan since 1989. Stipulations in laws and other official documents concerning immunity will be nullified.

The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) and REDRESS presented A Way Forward? Anti-torture reforms in Sudan in the Post-Bashir era on Wednesday, In the report the two organisations identify key reforms to end the systematic practice of torture in Sudan, punish the perpetrators, and provide reparations for the victims.

On Wednesday as well, Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) told the UN Security Council during her briefing on Sudan that she hopes that “Sudan will honour its commitments to deliver justice” for the victims of the civil war in Darfur.

 


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