Sauver Le Darfour dans le monde

Darfur: The Failure to Protect

International Crisis Group, 08 Mars 2005


Two years into the crisis in Darfur, the humanitarian, security and political situation is deteriorating. Atrocity crimes are continuing, people are still dying in large numbers from malnutrition and disease and a new famine is feared. The international community is failing to protect civilians itself or influence the Sudanese government to do so. The UN Security Council is currently negotiating a draft resolution that could begin to resolve the crisis if it is strong enough on civilian protection and accountability for atrocity crimes. But if Council divisions and veto threats again water down the final product as has happened several times already, the situation in Darfur will worsen. And it is likely to be only a matter of time until its poison affects the peace deal that was signed on 9 January 2005 to end the long war between the government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement (SPLM).

The comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) signed by the government and the SPLM contains provisions and models that could form the basis of a political solution -- not only for the conflict in Darfur, but also for the east of Sudan where conditions are ripe for increased violence. But neither its elements nor the prospect it offers of new players, and eventually new policies, in the central government can have a quick impact in Darfur. That requires a much more robust international policy to reverse a deteriorating situation.

Khartoum made peace with the SPLM in part to head off mounting pressure over Darfur. So far the gambit is working. The international community is deeply divided -- perhaps paralysed -- over what to do next in Darfur. The situation on the ground shows a number of negative trends, which have been developing since the last quarter of 2004: deteriorating security; a credible threat of famine; mounting civilian casualties; the ceasefire in shambles; the negotiation process at a standstill; the rebel movements beginning to splinter, and new armed movements appearing in Darfur and neighbouring states. Chaos and a culture of impunity are taking root in the region.

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Darfur described the massive scope of atrocities carried out in the territory, primarily by the government and its allied Janjaweed militias. The "protection by presence" strategy pursued by the UN and the African Union (AU), based on an AU force whose primary mission is to monitor the failing ceasefire, is not working. Hampered by slow arrival of donated African troops and Western logistical support, the AU has less than 2,000 of its authorised 3,320 personnel on the ground. A much larger force, such as the four to five fold increase recently called for by Jan Egeland, and a much stronger mandate to protect civilians, are required.

The key to stabilising the security situation, however, is to persuade the government to begin to fulfil its numerous commitments to disarm and neutralise the Janjaweed militia. The record of at least the past year shows it will not do this as long as it believes the cost of inaction is minimal. Altering this calculus requires the immediate imposition of targeted punitive measures, such as a freeze of overseas assets of companies controlled by the ruling party, a travel ban on senior officials, an expanded arms embargo -- and a realistic prospect that the atrocity crimes that have been documented by the UN Commission of Inquiry will be investigated, prosecuted and adjudicated by the one tribunal that can do this expeditiously, the International Criminal Court (ICC). The U.S. government's general objections to that institution should not stand in the way, not least because the Court in this instance would be exercising jurisdiction in the manner Washington has always said would be appropriate, via a political decision taken by the Security Council.

Increased pressure must also be placed on the Darfur rebels to abide by their commitments and to cease all attacks in violation of the ceasefire. The rebels must regain control over their scattered forces, punish human rights violations, and resolve their internal differences. The last can be accomplished through a series of grassroots and leadership level conferences, which should be supported by the international community. If their leaders continue to undermine security, they should also be subject to targeted sanctions.

The international community needs also to move rapidly to invigorate the AU-led peace process. It may be losing its senior mediator, and it lacks serious commitment by the warring parties and the kind of high level partnership between the AU and the broader international community that would provide real leverage.

Finally, implementation of the CPA must not be allowed to become an excuse for not pressing toward a settlement in Darfur. On the contrary, failure to resolve the Darfur crisis is all too likely eventually to undermine the CPA. It would be a grave mistake not to apply real pressure on Khartoum now.


To the UN Security Council:

1. Pass a resolution on the situation in Darfur that:

(a) finds the Government of Sudan in breach of its obligations under Resolutions 1556 of 30 July 2004 and 1664 of 18 September 2004;

(b) imposes asset freezes on ruling party businesses and travel bans on regime officials responsible for atrocities;

(c) extends the arms embargo created under Resolution 1556 to include the Government of Sudan and creates a mechanism to monitor that embargo and penalise violations;

(d) authorises the International Criminal Court to exercise jurisdiction over atrocity crimes;

(e) urges the AU force explicitly to protect civilians and relief deliveries;

(f) calls for close cooperation between the AU and UN missions in Sudan and encourages the use of UN assets to support a strengthened AU mission;

(g) recognises that a force with fewer than 10,000 troops is likely to be inadequate given Darfur's size, the ongoing violence, and the largely non-cooperative attitude of the Government of Sudan;

(h) calls on member states (African and non-African) to contribute troops and other support to such a strengthened AU mission, and on NATO to begin planning to assist the mission;

(i) calls on the EU, UN, and AU to work together to augment the civilian police capacity in Darfur;

(j) authorises the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to deploy an additional 100 Human Rights monitors; and

(k) endorses a no-fly zone over Darfur monitored by the AU, calling on member states to provide such technical and other assistance as may be required by the AU for this purpose, and identifying specific penal consequences to be applied by the Security Council in the event the AU reports there has been serious non-compliance by a party to the conflict.

2. Instruct the Secretary General to develop urgently a comprehensive plan for the return of civilian populations to their homes over the next year, including security arrangements and compensation.

To the Government of Sudan:

3. Take immediate steps with respect to the Janjaweed militias, including:

(a) ending all support;

(b) arresting the leaders identified as having perpetrated atrocity crimes; and

(c) beginning to disarm them, including members incorporated into the Popular Defence Forces (PDF), Border Intelligence Guard, Popular Police and Nomadic Police.

4. Identify immediately those militias it controls or which are under its influence to the AU Ceasefire Commission (CFC), as required by the Abuja agreements on the ceasefire.

5. Engage more seriously in the AU-led peace effort.

6. Cease immediately all offensive military activities, as required by the N'djamena ceasefire and subsequent Abuja agreements.

7. Cease efforts to forcibly return and relocate displaced persons inside Darfur.

To the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM):

8. Cease immediately all offensive military activities, as required by the N'djamena ceasefire and subsequent Abuja agreements.

9. Hold accountable those responsible for looting and kidnapping as well as those who attack humanitarian workers or impede humanitarian access.

10. Hold grassroots conferences as soon as possible in order to resolve differences within the movements and among the leaders, restore command and control structures, begin to create institutions, and agree upon a political concept for resolution of the conflict.

11. Desist from blocking traditional grazing routes.

12. Identify immediately areas of control to the AU Ceasefire Commission (CFC), as required by the Abuja agreements on the ceasefire.

To the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM):

13. Encourage a negotiated solution to the conflict by:

(a) working with the government to change its Darfur strategy; and

(b) convincing the rebels that there are potential benefits and models applicable to Darfur in the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) signed with the government on 9 January 2005.

To the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC):

14. Expand significantly the size of the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS), extend its mandate to include a specific focus on civilian protection, and work with the UN Security Council to facilitate inclusion and assistance of non-African forces to supplement the mission's force levels and capabilities.

15. Elaborate in conjunction with the UN Security Council and the Secretary General a strategy for neutralisation of the Janjaweed militias in the absence of Government of Sudan cooperation.

16. Get the Darfur Integrated Task Force (DITF) at Addis Ababa headquarters operating at full capacity.

17. Take immediate steps to hold the parties accountable to their commitments under the N'djamena ceasefire and the Abuja agreements, including by increasing cooperation with donor countries and the UN, and by publicising violations.

18. Map traditional grazing routes in Darfur, with the aim of opening them for grazing and avoiding flashpoints for future conflict.

19. Appoint a senior African diplomat familiar with Sudan and the region to serve as chief mediator in Abuja and forge a higher-level partnership with key external countries and institutions to advance the negotiations as was done in the IGAD process that produced the comprehensive peace agreement between the government and the SPLM.

To Donor Countries and Institutions:

20. Support the holding of general conferences in Darfur at which the SLA and JEM can seek to resolve leadership divisions and restore military command and control in order to counteract the fragmentation taking place in the field and thus be better able to negotiate responsibly for a political settlement.

21. Provide support for implementation of the CPA, withholding aid that primarily benefits the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) so long as the Darfur situation remains inflamed while ensuring that the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) receives what is needed to become a principal tool for the prevention of future conflict in the South.

22. Appoint high level Special Envoys to support the Darfur negotiation process, as was done with the IGAD process.

23. Work through non-governmental peace-building organisations to create a forum for traditional leaders in Darfur to discuss the divisions and tensions that have been exacerbated by the conflict.