TIGHT SECURITY, SHOPS SHUT AS SOUTH SUDAN WARNS AGAINST PROTESTS

The world’s newest nation has suffered from chronic instability since independence in 2011, with deepening discontent prompting a coalition of civil society groups to urge South Sudan’s leadership to step down, saying they have “had enough”.

FILE: Although the protest organisers had urged the public to come out in force, no demonstrations were reported in Juba, with residents telling AFP they were afraid even to leave home. Picture: AFP.
Link to flag/map.

AFP | about 18 hours ago

JUBA – Security forces patrolled South Sudan’s capital Juba on Monday and many shops were shut as the authorities warned of a tough crackdown against anyone joining a planned anti-government protest.

The world’s newest nation has suffered from chronic instability since independence in 2011, with deepening discontent prompting a coalition of civil society groups to urge South Sudan’s leadership to step down, saying they have “had enough”.

The demonstration was set to take place the same day as President Salva Kiir inaugurated a newly created national parliament, a key condition of a 2018 peace deal that ended South Sudan’s brutal civil war that killed nearly 400,000 people.

The government has taken a hard line against the People’s Coalition for Civil Action (PCCA) and its calls for a peaceful public uprising, arresting at least eight activists and detaining three journalists this month in connection with the demonstrations, according to rights groups.

Although the protest organisers had urged the public to come out in force, no demonstrations were reported in Juba, with residents telling AFP they were afraid even to leave home.

“We are hearing that there is no work today, and besides we are fearing (what the day will bring),” food hawker Emelda Susu told AFP.

“I will go to the market when I see things are normal, but for now one’s life (comes) first, my friend. Yes I am fearing so I have to be careful,” Jimmy Bandu, a small-scale trader, told AFP.

National security officers with militarised mounted vehicles patrolled usually busy neighbourhoods in Juba, which also saw a ramped-up police presence and low levels of traffic.

PLEDGE FOR ‘FREE, FAIR’ VOTE

The authorities have branded the protest “illegal” and warned of strict measures against anyone who defies the ban.

“The government is in full control and… so everybody should resume his or (her) normal duties and… not fear anything,” Information Minister Michael Makuei told AFP.

He dismissed reports of an internet shutdown after users reported difficulty accessing two of the country’s main networks, Zain and MTN, blaming any problems on technical troubles.

The US embassy in Juba has asked its citizens to avoid the areas where protesters may assemble, urging them to “exercise caution”.

With the mood in the usually bustling capital decidedly subdued, Kiir told members of the new parliament to put citizens’ “needs above partisan consideration… (and) place the people of South Sudan above any narrow party interest”.

“We should always remember that our final mandate in this (peace) process is to hold free, fair and credible democratic elections at the end of the transitional period,” he added.

South Sudan’s peace process has suffered from years of drift and bickering following the 2018 ceasefire and power-sharing deal between Kiir and his former foe Vice President Riek Machar.

The PCCA — a broad-based coalition of activists, academics, lawyers, and former government officials — has described the current regime as “a bankrupt political system that has become so dangerous and has subjected our people to immense suffering”.

The truce between Kiir and Machar still largely holds but it is being sorely tested, as politicians bicker overpower and promises for peace go unmet.

Link to web article.


Bashir’s Wife Faces Charges of Illicit Enrichment.

Thursday, 19 August, 2021 – 07:15

Bashir’s second wife, Widad Babiker. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Khartoum – Ahmed Younis

Sudan’s Public Prosecution has completed investigations into several financial corruption cases and premeditated murder committed during the rule of ousted President Omar al-Bashir. Some lawsuits involve Bashir’s second wife, Widad Babiker, and other leaders who served his regime.

Sudan’s attorney general, Mubarak Mahmoud, has received from the Unlawful and Suspicious Enrichment Prosecution the results of investigations led into four cases against prominent figures in the former regime, announced the Public Prosecution in a statement on Wednesday.

Other than Babiker, the cases involve the former governor of Khartoum, the former minister of urban planning, and the ex-official charged with the commission for distributing state revenues.

For Babiker, she faces charges of transgressing and unlawfully owning residential lands and real estate. Babiker has been under house arrest since her release from custody due to health reasons.

In other news, the attorney general visited the new Khartoum prosecution headquarters for Empowerment Removal and Fund Recovery and the Prosecution Headquarters of Information Crimes and Digital Investigations.

Mubarak Mahmoud, while inspecting the facilities, reviewed obstacles faced by authorities.

The head of the Empowerment Removal and Funds Recovery Prosecution, Al-Amthal Abdelfattah, explained that the visit confirms the attorney general’s interest in the progress of work in all prosecutions.

Abdelfattah confirmed that his Department, despite being new, is conducting investigations into a large number of lawsuits and that it has recently referred four cases involving suspects who are accused of activities and actions that undermine the constitution.

https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/3140341/bashir%E2%80%99s-wife-faces-charges-illicit-enrichment

Sudanese Prime Minister on 2-day bilateral visit to Juba!

JUBA CITY -19 AUG 2021

Gen. Hussein Abdelbagi , 5th Vice President of South Sudan with PM Dr. Abdalla Hamdok .

The Prime Minister of Sudan, Dr. Abdalla Hamdok earlier today arrived in the South Sudanese capital Juba on a two-day bilateral visit which will also focus on the progress of the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement and the current fallout in the SPLM/A-IO.

South Sudan’s foreign affairs minister, Beatrice Khamisa Wani, said the two heads of state will discuss both bilateral issues and concerns related to the peace deal under the auspices of IGAD which Sudan currently chairs.

“We are here on both a bilateral visit as well as a visit on issues of IGAD. You know His Excellency Dr. Hamdok is also the chair of IGAD countries therefore the visit will be on two different things,” Foreign minister Khamisa said. “We have over the years signed cooperation agreements between South Sudan and Sudan and those will be examined by the various ministers in South Sudan and their counterparts. But also His Excellency Dr. Hamdok will discuss with His Excellency President Salva Kiir issues of the implementation of the peace agreement and especially the recent developments in Magenis and so forth.” 

For her part, the Sudanese foreign affairs minister, Mariam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi, told the press that despite making some gains, there is slow progress in the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement and the unification of armed forces. 

“Overseeing the implementation of the peace agreement, yes we all commended and we are observing the very positive developments that are taking place within the implementation of the peace agreement but there is still observed slowness and many of the observations regarding the integration of the armed groups,” Minister Mariam Al-Mahadi said.   

She added: “The manifestation of this split (SPLM/A-IO) is still a manifestation of the whole process. That is why people are much concerned to revitalize and to further support the government of South Sudan to implement the agreement. And as you know the ending of the whole agreement is within a few weeks.”

Al- Mahadi said that the visit will also tackle the issues of the Abyei Administrative Area, UNISFA, the border, and how to improve relations between the two neighbors. 

The two-day visit will conclude on Saturday. 

https://radiotamazuj.org/en/news/article/sudanese-prime-minister-on-2-day-bilateral-visit-to-juba

Sudanese PM Abdallah Hamdok talks to the media upon his arrival in Juba on Thursday. [Photo by the Associated Press]
udanese PM Abdallah Hamdok talks to the media upon his arrival in Juba on Thursday. [Photo by the Associated Press] https://www.sudanspost.com/sudanese-premier-abdallah-hamdok-arrives-in-juba-for-2-day-state-visit/

Burhan Vows to Protect Democratic Transition in Sudan!

Monday, 16 August, 2021 – 09:15

Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan speaking at the 67th anniversary of the armed forces (Getty Images)

Khartoum – Ahmad Youness

The Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, vowed to protect the democratic transition in the country.

Speaking at the ceremony celebrating the 67th anniversary of the Armed Forces, Burhan said that the army would prevent any coup attempts.

The armed forces are keen to protect change and democratic transition, announced Burhan, asserting that the people are the leader.

It’s been over a year since any information was reported about military attempts to overthrow the transitional government.

However, in June, members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the National and People’s parties announced a popular movement aimed at overthrowing the transitional government on June 30, which coincided with the anniversary of the 1989 coup that they orchestrated under the leadership of Omar al-Bashir.

Burhan warned “the enemies of Sudan” who tried to undermine the unity of the armed forces, asserting that they will fail, and the army will remain united.

He explained that the armed forces sided with the civilians that made the change in response to popular demands.

“The army will work to carry the principles of the glorious December revolution, and, along with its partners in the forces of the revolution, it will bear the challenges of the transition to building a homeland of freedom, pride, peace, and justice.”

Referring to the armed movements that signed the peace agreement and the other non-signatories, Burhan said that the army will always be ready to welcome its peace partners to build Sudan and called on the non-signatories to join “the path of peace and nation-building.”

Burhan asserted that “Sudan will remain united and strong,” in a message that seems directed at members of the Sovereign Council, Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, and the government.

He also indicated that the Rapid Support Forces are an integral part of the armed forces.

Notably, the army sided with the revolution that overthrew Bashir in April 2019, and in July, it announced the thwarting of a coup attempt led by Islamist officers.

However, local activists warn of the possibility of a military coup, carried out by Islamist officers loyal to the former regime, despite the continuous assurances from the leaders that they did not intend to overthrow the transitional government.
https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/3134926/burhan-vows-protect-democratic-transition-sudan

Sudan-Ethiopia tensions rise amid diplomatic wrangling and famine

Mon, 9 August 2021, 5:37 pm

After Sudanese efforts to help broker a ceasefire in Tigray were rejected by Ethiopia, Khartoum has recalled its ambassador to Addis Ababa.

With Sudan currently chairing the regional body Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said he was trying to “encourage all Ethiopian sides to reach a ceasefire agreement, and engage in comprehensive political talks”, in a statement released on Sunday.

Fighting in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region began last November when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops in to defeat the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Part of the issue stems from Fashaga, the contested border region that is used by Ethiopian farmers, but claimed by Sudan.

This situation “needs to be thoroughly addressed, before Sudan could be entertained as a credible party in terms of facilitating such kind of negotiations,” said Ethiopian prime minister spokesperson Billene Seyoum.

Ethiopia also accused Sudan of an “incursion” into their territory.

Sudan said these statements, which cited Sudan’s “lack of neutrality” as “allegations with no basis”.

Additionally, Ethiopia has gone ahead with the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which neighbouring countries Sudan and Egypt have been at odds with since work began in 2011.

Both countries, which are downstream from the Blue Nile, fear this mega-dam will threaten their access to water they need for drinking, sanitation and irrigation.

Refugees suffer as famine looms

Sudan has been a place of refuge for tens of thousands of Ethiopians fleeing the fighting and the rape and abuse that has been documented.

The UN says that this has created famine-like conditions for 400,000 people now in refugee camps in southeastern Sudan.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported on Monday that refugees are suffering from malnutrition, malaria and Hepatitis E as there is not enough food, clean water, sanitation and shelter for everyone. And the beginning of the rainy season has made living in the camps worse, according to the ICRC.

https://sudansnewsupdates.org/wp-admin/post-new.php

IGAD convenes emergency meeting to discuss South Sudan!

JUBA – 9 AUG 2021

The regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has convened an emergency meeting to discuss the implications of the current political situation on the implementation of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

Sudanese Foreign Affairs minister and chairperson of the IGAD Council of Ministers Dr. Mariam Al-Sadig Al-Mahdi in a communique from the IGAD secretariat, called the meeting to take place via ZOOM on Monday 9th August 2021.

“The agenda for this Emergency Council meeting will be to discuss the current political situation in South Sudan that requires the urgent attention of the Council,” the communique read. “The IGAD Secretariat, therefore, requests your esteemed ministry to confirm the participation of the honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs as head of the delegation and in accordance to 8(1) of the Rules of Procedure governing IGAD meetings, a maximum of such other accredited representatives, alternate representatives ad advisors.”

The IGAD Member States include Djibouti,  Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, South Sudan, and Uganda.

In the last week, South Sudan has experienced political developments including conflicts within the SPLM/A-IO led by First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar who was deposed by his army generals and replaced by his former chief of staff Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual. Machar quickly responded by saying he was in full control of the party and its military wing. However, over the weekend, troops loyal to Machar and Gatwech clashed in the Magenis area of Upper Nile State. Tensions remain high in the area.

In addition, a group calling itself The People’s Coalition for Civil Action (PCCA) called for a civil uprising in the country. Increased reports of arbitrary arrests, curtailed freedoms of assembly and expression, and armed confrontations in different parts have plagued the nation.

 https://radiotamazuj.org/en/news/article/igad-convenes-emergency-meeting-to-discuss-south-sudan

Fighting erupts between rival SPLA-IO factions in Upper Nile!

MAGENIS -7 AUG 2021

(No comment available for this with Radio Tamazuj)

Fresh clashes erupted in the Magenis area of Upper Nile State on Saturday morning between the two rival military factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in Opposition (SPLA-IO).

Earlier this week, a group of military generals declared First Vice President Riek Machar had been ousted as head of the SPLM-IO and as commander in chief of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in Opposition (SPLA-IO).

Those top generals include former chief of staff General Simon Gatwech Dual, General Johnson Olony of Sector One Command and General Thomas Mabor Dhoal of Sector Three Command.

First Lieutenant General Simon Gatwech Dual was declared interim leader of the opposition by the new group. However, Riek Machar convened on Thursday an emergency meeting and dismissed claims that he had been ousted and replaced by General Simon Gatwech.

Chuol Deng, deputy spokesman of SPLA-IO forces under Gen. Simon Gatwech, accused forces loyal to Riek Machar of carrying out attacks on their positions in Magenis this morning.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj this morning, Deng claimed that their group is still maintaining its position in Magenis and that the SPLA-IO forces loyal to Riek Machar are being repulsed.

“We have captured some vehicles from the attackers. We have so far lost one soldier and two others sustained injuries. The fighting is ongoing, so more details will be later,” Deng said.

Meanwhile, Riek Machar’s acting spokesperson Pouk Both Baluang, said: “There is an ongoing meeting of the military command in Juba to discuss the ongoing incident. Our military spokesman Paul Lam Gabriel would speak to the media shortly after the meeting.”

https://radiotamazuj.org/en/news/article/breaking-fighting-erupts-between-rival-spla-io-factions-in-upper-nile

Sudan, the International Criminal Court and Omar Al Bashir.

06.08.21 

In 2019, as a result of mass mobilization and popular protest against Omar Al Bashir and his administration, Sudan embarked on a process of transition. Currently, there is a transitional administration in place – a civilian and military administration – with a new cabinet announced early this year, as a result of the Juba Peace Agreement of 3 October 2020, relating to Darfur and other conflict areas.

The news from Sudan on 4th August 2021 – that the cabinet has voted to sign and ratify the Rome Statute, the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court – is significant. While there are still some steps to go before Sudan can become a state party – such as approval by the governing Sovereign Council – this confirmation comes after many mixed messages regarding the International Criminal Court over the past year. There are also other implications of the announcement, some of which are addressed here. 

Trials in Sudan – 1989 Coup and Corruption 

Since the popular uprising, Omar Al Bashir has been in custody in Khartoum and on trial for crimes under Sudanese law, including corruption and the 1989 military coup. He was convicted for corruption in December 2019 and is now standing trial for crimes associated with the military coup he initiated in 1989, that enabled him to seize power. The trial commenced in July 2020 along with 27 other former officials. Charges also include those related to the killing of demonstrators at the time of protests in December 2018. A conviction for some of the charges could entail the death penalty. There have been delays in the trial proceedings however, including possible recusal, and a postponement of the trial to a few days from now, 10 August 2021. 

Clearly, these cases do not address the charges against Al Bashir or others in his administration, relating to the international crimes in Darfur. Sudanese law did not include provisions for such international crimes till a few years after the 2002 atrocities in Darfur, making them difficult to prosecute in this domestic context. 

Sudan and the ICC – Past and Present  

There is a complex legal and political backdrop to the cabinet announcement on the ICC. Recall that allegations of crimes in Darfur, including genocide, resulted in the first Security Council referral to the ICC on 31 March 2005 by virtue of  Resolution 1593, with the Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. After opening investigations in June 2005, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants against Omar Al Bashir in 2009 and 2010. Other warrants have also been issued relating to various government officials and members of the ‘janjaweed’ militia, incriminated in the crimes in Darfur. There were many firsts – the first UNSC referral, as well as jurisdiction over a non-state party (which now also exists in the case of Myanmar).

There has been much diplomatic and legal wrangling arising from the referral, including allegations of a bias against African states, African Union threats to withdraw en mass from the Rome Statute, plans for an advisory opinion to the International Court of Justice on head of state immunity, as well as non-cooperation by state parties to the Rome Statute in the matter of arrest and transfer of Al Bashir during state visits. 

At the International Criminal Court, apart from Al Bashir, there are others that are also the focus of the investigations. There are currently six cases, with five warrants of arrest issued, one accused in custody, and four individuals at large (including Al Bashir). Of these, all except for Banda are in the custody of Sudan and can be surrendered to the court.

The case that is now moving forward in relation to Darfur is that of Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman or ‘Ali Kushayb’, who surrendered himself voluntarily to the ICC in June 2020. The charges against him were confirmed by a pre-trial chamber in July 2021, and include 31 counts for crimes committed between 2002 and 2003. Ahmad Muhammad Harun was jointly charged along with Ali Kushayb, but the cases have been separated. The Prosecutor, in her last address to the UNSC on 9 June 2021, expressed the wish for the transfer of Harun to the Hague, in order for the case to be joined with Ali Kushayb.  

The then Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda also signed an MOU with the Sudanese government in February 2021, which pledged greater cooperation and access to ICC teams for the investigations.   

Conclusion 

There were conflicting messages regarding whether Al Bashir would be handed over to the ICC for trial – early on, indications in the affirmative, but more recently, a reluctance to see him stand trial for international crimes. However, this announcement gives rise to two possibilities – it does not necessarily follow from the announcement that Al Bashir will be handed over, but it may be part of the rationale and laying the groundwork (in political terms) for a handover. Strictly speaking, ratifying the Rome Statute is not a precondition to handover, given the investigation against Al Bashir was the result of a Security Council referral, and there is already an obligation to cooperate (see, para 2 of UNSC Res 1593). This ratification will be for any future international crimes and will be prospective from the time of ratification. While this development is to be commended, there is still the need for continued engagement and cooperation by Sudan, and specifically, for the handover of those in state custody, including Omar Al Bashir.

 https://opiniojuris.org/2021/08/06/sudan-the-international-criminal-court-and-omar-al-bashir/

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Paramilitary officers sentenced to death in Sudan.

Written by Reuters -6th Aug 2021

A Sudanese court sentenced six officers in the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces to death for the 2019 killing of six students protesting as civilians negotiated power-sharing with the military.

The prosecution of personnel from the RSF – commanded by the deputy head of Sudan’s transitional governing body – over the killings and others is seen as a test of government’s commitment to democratisation after decades of autocratic Islamist rule.

In a statement on the convictions, the civilian court in Elobeid, where the killings occurred, said the defendants broke RSF law and behaved individually, adding “their actions have no relation to the forces they were part of.”

The teenage victims were part of a student protest following the June 3, 2019 killing of dozens of protesters demanding a faster transition to civilian, democratic government after an uprising toppled veteran President Omar al-Bashir.

Members of the RSF, which emerged from Janjaweed militias loyal to Bashir were accused of atrocities during the Darfur conflict in the early 2000s, were blamed for post-uprising bloodshed.

In May, another RSF member was convicted and sentenced to death for running over a protester after the June attack.

There are calls from civilian Sudanese leaders – who share power with the dominant military on the Sovereign Council – as well as world powers for the RSF to be included in the regular armed forces.

General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, RSF commander and deputy head of the Sovereign Council, voiced reluctance for this step.

The Sovereign Council will guide the country to free elections in 2024.

The Elobeid court acquitted two other RSF officers, ruling they had not carried weapons and tried to prevent the fatal shootings.

One of nine RSF personnel originally accused was found guilty but referred to a minor’s court for sentencing as he was underage at the time, the court said.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/security/human-security/paramilitary-officers-sentenced-to-death-in-sudan/

South Sudanese First VP deposed!

The first vice president of South Sudan, Riek Machar

Juba, Aug 5 (Prensa Latina) The first vice president of South Sudan, Riek Machar, was removed as head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in-Opposition (SPLA-IO) and its military wing, media outlets reported.
Machar was severely criticized in a three-day meeting, and the SPLA-IO military faction declared that he ‘completely failed’ to show leadership.

Party leaders accused Machar of no longer representing their interests, after being a key figure on the path to South Sudan’s independence – achieved in 2011 – and the subsequent war (2013-2018).

Machar’s chief of staff, First Lieutenant General Simon Gatwech Dual, was placed on an interim basis at the head of the opposition organization, which governs the country, together with Salva Kiir Mayardit’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

The Machar-Kiir alliance is considered an unstable compromise between former enemies.

For the influential military wing of the party, the first vice president greatly weakened the organization’s position in the coalition government that followed the war in early 2020 and claimed that Riek Machar engaged in a ‘divide and rule policy.’

For years he favored nepotism over unity or the advancement of his cause, according to a statement on August 3rd signed by the military leadership.

In the meeting it was specified ‘that there was no other option but to make the decision and finally declare (the departure) of Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon from the presidency of the SPLA-IO’, which provoked a furious reaction among those belonging to the political wing of the party loyal to the deposed leader, who called an emergency meeting to address the matter and said they still consider Machar the leader of the party.

https://www.plenglish.com/index.php?SEO=south-sudanese-first-vp-deposed&id=70294&o=rn