SA should have arrested Sudan’s al-Bashir, international court rules

Sudan's Omar Al-Bashir and President Jacob Zuma share one of many happy moments. Picture: GCIS

Sudan’s Omar Al-Bashir and President Jacob Zuma share one of many happy moments. Picture: GCIS

 

South Africa was under a duty under the Rome Statute to arrest Sudanese President Omar al Bashir when he was in the country in 2015‚ the International Criminal Court (ICC) said on Thursday.

By not arresting him‚ South Africa failed in its duty to comply with the court’s request for his surrender.

This prevented the court from exercising its functions and powers‚ the ICC said in its finding.

The court on Thursday made this finding in respect of South Africa’s failure to arrest Al Bashir when he attended an African Union Summit in South Africa in June 2015.

SA had argued for Al Bashir’s immunity under customary international law on account of his position as a sitting head of state‚ and the immunity agreement South Africa concluded with the African Union for the AU heads of state summit.

The court said it did not agree with this submission.

It said Article 27.2 of the Statute excluded the immunity for heads of state from arrest.

The court said the court’s jurisdiction to act was triggered by the United Nation’s security council resolution‚ which referred the prosecution in Darfur to the prosecutor in the ICC.

The ICC had issued a warrant for his arrest in 2009 and another in 2010 on charges of war crimes allegedly committed in his country between 2003 and 2008.

Al Bashir arrived in South Africa to attend the African Union Summit‚ despite there being a warrant for his arrest issued by the ICC.

South Africa‚ as a signatory of the Rome Statute and having enacted a local law adopting the statute‚ was bound to execute the warrant of arrest.

The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) sought the execution of the ICC warrant.

Despite a court order instructing the state to ensure it prevented Al-Bashir from leaving the country‚ the Sudanese president left South Africa after the summit.

– TimesLIVE

Link to web article here.

South Sudan rebels warn of “river of body bags” as fighting rages in Upper Nile

 

Pagak/Juba, July 6, 2017 (SSNA) — Heavy fighting between government and rebel forces have resumed in and around Upper Nile’s Guelguk and Mathiang towns, the South Sudan News Agency(SSNA) has learned.

Senior rebel military officers told the SSNA in Pagak that a combination of government, Sudanese rebels, and militias have launched surprise attacks on rebel positions in and around Mathiang and Guelguk, causing civilians to flee their homes.

Rebels said they lured in heavily armed government convoy of specialized military armored trucks into Mathiang and Guelguk thinking that they captured them without a fight.

“We knew they were coming. So, what we did was to leave major areas to fool them into believing that they capture our bases,” SPLA-IO military intelligence officer Khamis Mawwil told the SSNA in Pagak.

“There will be a river of body bags if they think they can take over our areas in Upper Nile,” he warned.

The armed opposition also states that Juba attacked their areas because it doesn’t want any revitalization of the 2015 South Sudan peace deal.

Rebels said they have recaptured both Mathiang and Guelguk Thursday and that they inflicted heavy losses on the government forces, adding, “We captured many of their weapons and military trucks.”

A senior government official who refused to be identified told the SSNA in Juba that the goal of the government is to take full control of Gaatjaak areas and then replace rebel institutions with government ones.

The South Sudan News Agency has learned that after Juba-backed troops captured Mathiang and Guelguk, a unit of government forces was sent to Thoch with instruction to attack the SPLA-IO areas and proceed to Maiwut and Pagak.

However, South Sudanese government forces panicked Thursday evening after SPLA Bilpham General Headquarters in Juba informed them that rebel forces retook Guelguk and Mathiang.

The South Sudan News Agency was told by a senior rebel General that at least five SPLA-IO low-level officers who were caught communicating with government troops were arrested by the SPLA-IO military intelligence unit and taken to unknown location.

The officer refused to identify the identities of the officers alleged to have been secretly collaborating with the government forces.

There was no immediate comment from the SPLA-IO’s Spokesman, Brig. General William Gatjiath Deng.

However, minutes after the South Sudan News Agency published the report, SPLA-IO’s Spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Deng, released an official statement confirming the fighting.

“In the Mangok, Mathiang, Malou and Biot fighting, the gallant SPLA-IO forces of Division Five (5) under the command of Cdr Major General Khor Chuol Giet and Deputy Sector Four (4) Commander Major General Peter Lim Bol resisted and repulsed the Juba regime aggression from the Guelguk direction back to their Malou temporary trenches, where their remnants are now being contained,” Deng said.

Deng added that Juba-backed forces suffered both in material and human losses.

“In this intense fighting, the Juba regime suffered a very debilitating loss both in human and materially. In terms of human, the Juba regime lost some seventy-four (74) soldiers, including eight (8) officers, on spot. This is in addition to those injured and without access to any food or medical attention whatsoever. Materially, the Juba regime abandoned one (1) Worrol mounted with 14 (4) barrels and other four (4) land cruisers mounted with 12.7mm machine guns,” he said.

“In this intense fighting, the Juba regime suffered a very debilitating loss both in human and materially. In terms of human, the Juba regime lost some seventy-four (74) soldiers, including eight (8) officers, on spot. This is in addition to those injured and without access to any food or medical attention whatsoever. Materially, the Juba regime abandoned one (1) Worrol mounted with 14 (4) barrels and other four (4) land cruisers mounted with 12.7mm machine guns,” he said.

Brig. General Deng accuses Juba of believing only in action, warning, “the armed opposition will no longer entertain any further provocations and aggressions anywhere in South Sudan.”

Deng further reveals that fighting between the rival forces has also been intensifying in Equatoria region.

Link to web article here.

Making a Fortune While Making a Famine

The illustrative case of a South Sudanese general

While South Sudanese people are starving by the tens of thousands and war rages on, a small group of senior military officers have gotten rich. This brief from The Sentry presents the case of one influential general whose military strategies helped create the famine. This general’s case illustrates how the deliberate absence of the rule of law provides the potential for immense financial benefits for the leaders of South Sudan’s regime and how current incentives favor extreme violence and grand corruption over peace and good governance.

A recent U.N.-declared famine in South Sudan’s Unity state has left 100,000 people at immediate risk of dying of starvation.[i] All told, an estimated 7.5 million people in South Sudan—more than half the country’s population—urgently need assistance.[ii]The cause of this famine is not a mystery. Government and rebel forces have used specific tactics to produce mass displacement and famine in South Sudan, particularly through the massive cattle raids undertaken by government-backed forces, attacks on agricultural areas, and the seeding of intercommunal violence beyond clashes between government forces and armed opposition groups.[iii]

The names of the men who are responsible for planning and executing a brutal military campaign in Unity state in 2015—an offensive that laid the groundwork for the outbreak of the famine—are not secret. According to the U.N. Panel of Experts on South Sudan, the offensive was planned and executed by a group of senior military officials who were close to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir.[iv]Furthermore, while much of the country starves, some of these same military officers appear to have been getting rich. They profit from insider deals, move their fortunes through large international banks, and often use their children to keep their names off of company records. Many of these senior officials do not appear to conceal their fortunes from other insiders, as they often do business together and own homes close to one another outside South Sudan.[v]

Lt. Gen. Malek Reuben Riak is one of the senior generals that the U.N. panel has identified as responsible for the violence in Unity state that directly led to the famine. A close examination of his business activities helps illustrate the warped incentives that motivate senior military officials in South Sudan. Looking at this illustrative example of just a slice of corrupt economic activity by just one of the leading generals demonstrates how deeply the incentives favor violence and instability over peace and democratic governance.

Lt. Gen. Reuben Riak was promoted by President Kiir to Deputy Chief of Staff of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in January 2013. Lt. Gen. Reuben Riak held that position—which involved a central role in weapons procurement for the national army—for the first several years of the civil war, until March 2016, when he became Deputy Chief of Staff of the SPLA for Training. On May 24, 2017, President Salva Kiir promoted Lt. Gen. Reuben Riak to Deputy Chief of Defense Staff and Inspector General of the army.  According to South Sudan’s national budget, in 2014 and 2015, the salary for a general of this rank was approximately $40,000 per year, including a housing stipend.[vi]

But procuring weapons and planning brutal military offensives are only Lt. Gen. Reuben Riak’s day job.

As reported in War Crimes Shouldn’t Pay in September 2016, The Sentry has documents that show $3.03 million moving through Lt. Gen. Reuben Riak’s personal bank account—a U.S. dollar-denominated account at Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB)—between January 2012 and early 2016. Financial transactions reviewed by The Sentry and discussed in its September 2016 report showed millions of dollars passing through Lt. Gen. Reuben Riak’s personal bank account at KCB, including more than $700,000 in cash deposits and large payments from several international construction companies operating in South Sudan. These payments came from companies backed by Chinese, Lebanese, and Turkish investors. These include hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments and cash deposits into the account since the war in South Sudan began in December 2013. In that same period, over $1.16 million was withdrawn from Lt. Gen. Reuben Riak’s account, in his own name or as “cash.” Lt. Gen. Reuben Riak also has acquired stakes in numerous companies incorporated in South Sudan, including engineering and energy companies.[vii]

Information provided to The Sentry after publication of its September 2016 report provides more clarity about the nature and extent of Lt. Gen. Reuben Riak’s business operations in South Sudan and his links with multinational corporations, banks, and foreign politicians. This report uses this new information to take a closer look at Lt. Gen. Reuben Riak’s business activities. One important finding is that Lt. Gen. Reuben Riak controls a private business called Mak International Services that sells explosives to private companies operating in South Sudan—an arrangement that has been not only endorsed but also promoted on an exclusive basis by the military in which he holds a key leadership role.[viii] According to other documents reviewed by The Sentry, Lt. Gen Reuben Riak also sits, along with several other senior generals, on the board of a holding company that has joint ventures with foreign investors and appears to be active in South Sudan’s mining and construction sectors.[ix] This Sentry report also reviews documents detailing how Lt. Gen. Reuben Riak’s family members appear to be representing his interests on several commercial ventures, often alongside the family members of other senior government officials in South Sudan.[x] This report also examines documents that purport to show that Lt. Gen. Reuben Riak and members of his family jointly own businesses with members of the political elite in neighboring Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda.

The case of Lt. Gen. Reuben Riak illustrates a broader pattern in South Sudan in which powerful officials work closely together in a relatively small network and preside over the country’s violent kleptocratic system of government. They get rich while the rest of the country suffers the consequences of a brutal civil war and a horrific famine. Their business interests often intersect with one another and with those of officials in neighboring countries, undermining the credibility of diplomatic processes designed to promote peace and possibly compromising those involved in negotiations. Protecting this network’s position in power means continued access to rent-seeking opportunities as well as continued impunity for corruption and involvement in human rights abuses.

The case of Lt. Gen Reuben Riak does not just support the case that top South Sudanese officials are getting rich off of conflict. The case also illustrates the significant untapped leverage held by the international community vis-à-vis these officials. Documents reviewed by The Sentry indicate that Lt. Gen. Reuben Riak has used international banks to move millions of U.S. dollars and he conducts business with international investors.[xi] Foreign governments—especially the U.S. government—are in a position to curb his ability to access the international financial system. This is because virtually all transactions that are conducted in U.S. dollars pass through the U.S. financial system, even if only for a split second. As a result, the U.S. government has jurisdiction over these financial flows and, in turn, the ability to scrutinize and stop them. This report concludes by presenting how the U.S. and other governments can more effectively use the tools of financial pressure—namely sanctions and anti-money laundering provisions—to impose steep consequences on the top officials who are responsible for South Sudan’s horrific civil war and resultant famine. In this case, the United States should impose network sanctions (i.e., asset freezes targeting a network of individuals and entities, rather than a single person) on Lt. Gen. Reuben Riak and the companies he owns or controls.

Download Full Report

[i] Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, “Localized famine and unprecedented levels of acute malnutrition in Greater Unity – almost 5 million people in need of urgent assistance,” February 20, 2017, available at http://www.ipcinfo.org/fileadmin/user_upload/ipcinfo/docs/1_IPC_Alert_6_SouthSudan_Crisis_Feb2017.pdf.

[ii] U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “South Sudan: Humanitarian Snapshot April 2017,” available at http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/170508_South_Sudan_Humanitarian_Snapshot_April_2017.pdf.

[iii] See, for example, George Clooney and John Prendergast, “South Sudan’s Government-Made Famine,” The Washington Post, March 9, 2017, available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/03/09/south-sudans-government-made-famine/?utm_term=.5f29b091777e.

[iv] U.N. Security Council, “Final report of the Panel of Experts in accordance with paragraph 18 (d) of resolution 2206 (2015),” S/2016/70, p. 19, January 26, 2016, available at http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2016/70.

[v] This case is discussed in detail in The Sentry, “War Crimes Shouldn’t Pay: Stopping the looting and destruction in South Sudan” (Washington: September 2016), available at https://thesentry.org/reports/warcrimesshouldntpay/.

[vi] Government of South Sudan Ministry of Finance, Commerce, Investment & Economic Planning, “Approved Budget Tables Financial Year 2014/15,” August 2014, p. 36, “Security [forces]” table, available at http://grss-mof.org/wpcontent/uploads/2014/08/RSS-Approved-Budget-Book-2014-15.pdf. Some current and former South Sudanese government officials have told The Sentry that senior officials can find ways of supplementing their income through per diem payments and expense accounts. However, any such sources of income have not been accounted for in South Sudan’s national budget.

[vii] This case is discussed in detail in The Sentry, “War Crimes Shouldn’t Pay,” pp. 43-45.

[viii] Letter from Wu Kaibing (Chief Representative, China Wu Yi Engineering (S S) Co., Ltd.), October 18, 2016.

[ix] An October 20, 2010 resolution by the Board of Directors of Bright Star International Corporation Limited provides Gen. Malual Ayom with “special power of attorney” and authorizes him to form a joint venture with Double “A” Construction (SS) Co. Ltd. The document is signed by Oyay Deng Ajak, Bior Ajang Duot, James Hoth Mai, Pieng Deng Kuol, Malek Reuben Riak, and Salva Mathok Gengdit.

[x] Articles of Association for Eastern Mountain Ltd., March 6, 2012; Articles of Association for All Engineering, October 21, 2015; Jubilee Bank Company Ordinary Resolution No. 1 of 2013, May 27, 2013.

[xi] The Sentry, “War Crimes Shouldn’t Pay,” pp. 43-45

Link to web article here.

A Trump decision within the week may accelerate genocide in Darfur

Photo: YouTube

By Eric Reeves

July 6, 2017 (SSNA) — Within the coming week the Trump administration will make a decision unlikely to break through the furor of bizarre presidential behavior, the health care debate, or any of the foreign policy issues that have dominated the past six months—from North Korea to ISIS and Syria to relations with Europe to dangerous frictions among the Gulf States.

But the decision—whether to make permanent President Obama’s lifting of U.S. economic sanctions on the Khartoum regime in Sudan—will have immense implications for the people of that desperate country. And for the western Darfur region, a permanent lifting of sanctions will likely result in cataclysmic human destruction. Perhaps not immediately, although there will be significant and direct consequences for the 3 million non-Arab/African Darfuris displaced from their homes and lands (http://sudanreeves.org/2017/05/22/displacement-in-sudan-and-darfur-un-figures-continue-to-be-careless-or-inadequate/ ). But sooner or later many of these desperate people will join the more than half a million people who have already died, directly or indirectly, from violence unleashed over the past fourteen years during Khartoum’s genocidal counter-insurgency in the region (http://sudanreeves.org/2017/04/27/violent-mortality-in-the-darfur-genocide-a-matter-of-international-indifference-and-prevarication/ ).

Who has said that that the violence was genocidal? For the moment, let’s focus on senior members of the Obama administration, beginning with Senator, candidate and President Obama himself. He campaigned declaring that Darfur was a “stain on our souls,” and that he would never “turn a blind eye” to such human slaughter (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEd583-fA8M/). His National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, wrote in these pages during the Bush administration that genocide was occurring in Darfur and that the U.S. should be prepared to undertake unilateral humanitarian intervention if necessary to stop it (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64717-2004May28.html?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pubexchange_article/). Obama’s Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, also wrote frequently and powerfully about Darfur, and did not hesitate to use the “g-word” (https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/video/samantha-power-responding-genocide-darfur/).

Did the genocide somehow stop? Did it burn out? There is absolutely no evidence that this is the case. Indeed, beginning in the 2012 – 2013 dry season, violence escalated dramatically, particularly in the region known as East Jebel Marra. This violence was perpetrated chiefly by Khartoum’s new Arab militia force, the heavily armed and well-organized “Rapid Support Forces” (RSF). An important report from Human Rights Watch (September 2015 | https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/09/09/men-no-mercy/rapid-support-forces-attacks-against-civilians-darfur-sudan ) gave us our best insight into the character of RSF violence—and the ambitions of the Khartoum regime. Vice President Hassabo Abdelrahman delivered a speech to the RSF in December 2014, according to a defecting militiaman, in which he declared:

“Hassabo told us to clear the area east of Jebel Marra.

To kill any male. He said we want to clear the area of insects…

He said East Jebel Marra is the kingdom of the rebels.

We don’t want anyone there to be alive.”

The chilling echoes of the Rwanda genocide and Hutu characterizations of Tutsis as “cockroaches” has been remarked by no one in the Obama administration—or to date by the Trump administration. But in fact Hassabo’s comments had ample precedent in Darfur, perhaps most notoriously in a memo ten years earlier from the headquarters of brutal Janjaweed leader Musa Hilal: “Change the demography of Darfur…empty it of African tribes.”

Khartoum’s human rights record continues to be abominable, as does its persecution of Sudan’s small Christian population. And yet current U.S. Charge d’Affaires Steven Koutsis recently gave an interview in which he declared emphatically that issues of human rights, political and religious persecution, and freedom of expression were irrelevant to the decision about sanctions:

“None of these other issues were the point of sanctions, and none of these other issues, therefore, should be linked to the lifting of sanctions.” (Agence France-Presse, June 24, 2017 | http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-4635304/Sudan-positive-steps-meeting-sanctions-terms-US-envoy.html/)

But Koutsis is dead wrong: the Preface to the Executive Order by President Clinton imposing economic sanctions in 1997 explicitly asserts that in addition to the Khartoum regime’s support for international terrorism, sanctions were being imposed because of “the prevalence of human rights violations, including slavery and the denial of religious freedom” (https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Documents/13067.pdf /). Unsurprisingly, Sudan remains one of only three countries remaining on the State Department’s annual list of “state sponsors of terrorism.”

Perhaps the most egregious violation of international human rights law in the recent past occurred last year during Khartoum’s savage military campaign against the people of the Jebel Marra region in central Darfur. Amnesty International published an exhaustively researched report in September 2016, demonstrating beyond reasonable doubt that Khartoum had used chemical weapons against civilians nowhere near the fighting (https://www.amnestyusa.org/reports/scorched-earth-poisoned-air-sudanese-government-forces-ravage-jebel-marra-darfur/). Most of the victims were young children. The international community has been silent about Amnesty’s finding—indeed, in an action grotesque even by African Union standards, seven AU members elected Khartoum to the position of Vice-President of the executive body of the Organization for the Prohibition of chemical weapons, the very body with a mandate to investigate allegations of chemical weapons use (https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/03/sudan-elevation-to-opcws-governing-body-a-slap-in-the-face-for-victims-of-chemical-attacks/).

Certainly the Sudanese economy is a mess. But that isn’t a function of U.S. sanctions, which have been largely undermined by French banking giant BNP Paribas, convicted in 2015 of massive criminal violation of U.S. financial sanctions (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-bnp-paribas-settlement-idUSKBN0F52HA20140701/). The Khartoum regime is a powerful, ruthless kleptocracy—maintaining a monopoly on Sudanese national wealth and power since it came to power as the National Islamic Front on June 30, 1989—28 years ago (http://sudanreeves.org/2015/12/09/7041/). It has failed to invest in infrastructure, agriculture, or health services. It failed to anticipate the consequences of the loss of oil revenue with the 2011 secession of South Sudan and now confronts staggering inflation, a plummeting currency, and an almost complete lack of foreign exchange currency (Forex) with which to import critical commodities, including wheat for bread, cooking fuel, and essential medicines.

The Sudanese people—across the political spectrum—desperately want range change; they have been told by the U.S., however that this is not what we want:

“We [the Obama administration] do not want to see the ouster of the [Khartoum] regime, nor regime change. We want to see the regime carrying out reform via constitutional democratic measures.” (Interview with Asharq al-Awsat, December 3, 2011 | http://english.aawsat.com/2011/12/article55244147/asharq-al-awsat-talks-to-us-special-envoy-to-sudan-princeton-lyman)

The notion that this brutal, profoundly repressive, and serially genocidal regime is capable of “carrying out reform via constitutional democratic measures” is simply too preposterous to take seriously. Rather, it is the way in which the Obama administration, and so far the Trump administration, choose to put a fig-leaf over the real reason they want to keep the regime in power: supposedly valuable counter-terrorism intelligence, this from one of three countries that remains on the State Department’s annual listing of “state sponsors of terrorism.” But whatever the putative value of counter-terrorism intelligence expediently provided by the regime, is this really the time to be giving such brutal men an economic and financial lifeline? denying Sudanese people their political aspirations and ensuring that the regime feels it has a “green light” to continue its genocidal ways in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile?

There was a time before the Obama administration when Americans broadly said “no!” That should be our answer now.

Eric Reeves is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights.

Link to web article here.

WAR CRIMES COURT TO RULE ON SA’S FAILURE TO ARREST SUDAN’S AL-BASHIR

The ruling will be closely watched for its possible implications for Bashir and other sitting heads of state as well as for the court itself.

FILE: Omar Hassan al-Bashir. AFP
Link to web article here.

AMSTERDAM – Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) will rule on Thursday on whether South Africa violated ICC rules by failing to arrest Sudan’s president during a 2015 visit to Johannesburg, in a case that will test international support for the court.

There is an outstanding ICC warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir‘s arrest on genocide charges, which he denies.

Thursday’s ruling will be closely watched for its possible implications for Bashir and other sitting heads of state as well as for the court itself.

If the ICC rules that South Africa’s decision to let Bashir go was an act of non-compliance, the court could then either report Pretoria to the UN Security Council or to the ICC’s own member states. In either case, South Africa would only likely suffer the diplomatic setback of a court reprimand, rather than any further fine or sanction.

It is also possible that the court may accept South Africa’s argument that it was not obliged to implement the warrant.

Pretoria has argued that the ICC’s warrant for Bashir’s arrest was void in the face of a South African law that grants sitting heads of state immunity from prosecution, in line with the customary international law.

However, the ICC’s statutes explicitly state that sitting heads of states do not have immunity in war crimes cases.

Bashir, who came to power in Sudan in a 1989 Islamist and military-backed coup, was charged with genocide and crimes against humanity in 2008 over the deaths and persecution of ethnic groups in the Darfur province.

He denies the charges and continues to travel abroad, trailed by human rights activists and shunned by Western diplomats.

Though Sudan is not a member of the ICC, the court has jurisdiction there due to a 2005 UN Security Council resolution that referred the conflict to the Hague court.

The ICC faces the risk that any action it takes will only underline waning international support for its own existence.

The United States, Russia and China never became ICC members. In Africa, resentment over the court’s indictments of Africans has led Kenya to threaten withdrawal, and the African Union also called in February for mass withdrawals.

South Africa has gone further, formally notifying the United Nations last year that it intended to withdraw from the court.

Earlier this year a domestic South African court blocked the move over procedural issues, but authorities said as recently as last week that they would press ahead with the withdrawal.

The 28th Anniversary of the National Islamic Front Coup in Sudan

By Mahmoud A. Suleiman

Photo link here.

Link to web article here.

The Friday, June 30, 2017 marks the 28th anniversary of the military Coup d’état, led by the notorious National Islamic Front (NIF), the global Muslim Brotherhood Movement (MBM) which undermined the democratically elected government in Sudan to litter the land with corruption, genocidal killing, displacement and impoverishment. During their reign Sudan became a rogue and pariah state in the eyes of the world because of the criminal acts practiced by the gang of the ruling regime of the National Congress Party (NCP).

At this moment we remember a huge number of revolutionary figures who martyred and went as the victims of the crimes of Omer Hassan Ahmed al- Bashir and the entourage of his regime. We remember and salute the martyrs of the Darfur region, the martyrs of Kordofan, the martyrs of the south of the Sudan and the martyrs of the Manaseer region, martyrs of Gezira and the martyrs of Port Sudan. The Sudanese people will remember the killing of Majdi Mahjoub, pilot Girgis and Doctor Ali Fadul along with the martyrs of Ramadan 28, martyrs of the area Manaseer and Kajbar and the martyrs of the Intifada and the martyrs 19 September 2013.

During these times, we remember prisoners of war and prisoners of conscience who have been languishing in the in the prisons of the ruling regime of the outgoing National Congress Party and we commend and highly value their great signs of steadfastness. We hope Healing for wounded everywhere in the swathes of Sudan.

The National Islamic Front (NIF), as soon as rested assured on the helm, considered the people of Sudan in the Southern Sudan, region of Darfur and the marginalised territories as its prime archenemies and declared Jihad warfare against the civilian Sudanese citizens. They classified Sudanese people according to the concept of either with us or against us. In their quest for empowerment, (NIF) hard-liners adopted a policy of dismissal of government employees allegedly thought potentially disloyal under the pretext of the so-called ’Public Good/Interest’. Thus, hundreds of workers and officials in the Civil Service have been dismissed and replaced by inept unqualified individuals affiliated to the (NIF). The (NIF) Putschists gave the nickname of (Dismissal for Pubic Good) that phenomenologically farcical process.

Furthermore, they portrayed the war against the Southern Sudan, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement Army (SPLM/A) Rebels as a Jihad employing the regular Sudan Armed Force (SAF) and the militia Popular Defence Forces (PDF) which they portrayed as Mujahideen. The Majority of the (PDF) were conscripts from amongst high school, college and university students. Regular TV programme calling for jihad against the infidels known as (In the backyards of redemption) accompanied. NIF described their dead as martyrs and described the other dead in southern Sudan war as (Matt Fetaiz), the phrase means that others slain by their army as Rotten Fetid Corpses- according to their own words and phraseology. On the political front, the putschist regime dissolved the parliament, political parties and their representatives, who were members of it and imposed emergency laws all over the Sudan, and seized the banks and they by virtue of a deterrent decreed penalty included lynching for every person who owned hard foreign currencies such as the US dollar, British Pound after the forfeiture and the confiscation of the amount.

Moreover, they claimed that they came with what they called as Civilisational Project and Apostolic Orientation for the Islamisation of Sudan and the people of the country. Furthermore, they claimed that they will fight America and Russia which their Torment has approached they have met what hurts them, so to speak! However, hypocrisy is lanyard as the popular saying goes, and very soon the putschists agreed secretly with the US intelligence agency (CIA) to provide intelligence on the movements of Islamic jihadist terrorists that had taken Khartoum as a safe haven refuge.

The putschist entity of (NIF) had committed a heinous crime against their companions in the Sudan Armed Force (SAF), which included non-commissioned officers and officers of more than thirty on the pretext that they were involved in an alleged military coup attempt against them. The Execution of those 28 military officers took place on the Holy Month of Ramadan, which coincided April 23, 1990, in an ugly image representing treachery and betrayal. Thus, began the first step towards dismantling the Sudanese army in favour of the lords of the National Islamic Front (NIF) until the armed forces have become a monopoly; but later replaced by the Janjaweed militias and mercenaries that waged proxy civil wars on behalf of Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir and his entourage against the Sudanese unarmed noncombatant civilian citizens in Darfur where crimes of genocide have been systematically committed, 28 years on today’s date.

Darfur Forced to Take up to Arms

Moreover, when the people of Darfur who have suffered from systematic marginalisation by the successive governments led by the political elites, the majority of whom were descendants from the Northern Region since the Independence of Sudan in January 1956 from British colonialists rule. The then Brigadier Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir, virtually the leader of the regime, said publicly that he would not negotiate with anyone who did not carry weapons. Bashir’s statement forced the young men of the Region to take up to arms on February 2003 in quest for the legitimate rights of citizenship which include wealth sharing and power sharing and removal of systematic marginalisation and chronic deprivation which they and their people suffered and rights have been denied for so long. Moreover, they included those grievances in the Black Book imbalance of power and wealth in Sudan written around the end of the year 1999 by intellectuals from the Darfur region, a group led by Martyr Dr Khalil Ibrahim Muhammad, Allah forgive him and bless his soul.

The Janjaweed unleashed to run havoc

When the army and Janjaweed militias of the regime subjected to defeats at the hands of gallant Darfur armed movements rebel forces in all locations and battle fields, the Khartoum government has decided to take revenge on civilians rather than confronting the rebels. It unleashed the Janjaweed militias to wreak havoc and corruption on earth, burning villages and looting the property of citizens and killing women, kids and the elderly. Based on the war crimes perpetrated in the form of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant to apprehend the head of the regime Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir. Furthermore, the (ICC) issued arrest warrants of the former Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohammed Hussein and Ahmed Mohamed Haroun, former state minister of interior, and Ali Abdelrahman Kushayb, leader of the Janjaweed militias, all of whom remain fugitives from international justice.

Moreover, the NCP regime in order to be capable of carrying out further atrocious crimes against the people of Sudan in Darfur worked relentlessly for getting rid of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). However, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) continued extending the period of the (UNAMID) Force yearly. Accordingly, the UN Security Council and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union have considered extending the Mandate of (UNAMID) for 12 months, until 30 June 2017, without modifying its priorities or adjusting its authorised troop and police ceiling. http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2016/510.

NCP regime waging War on Citizens while swathes of Sudan’s land occupied by Foreigners 

The (NCP) regime has been waging futile warfare against fellow citizens while swathes of the soil of Sudan remain under the occupation by foreign neighbouring countries. These are the Sudanese territories occupied by the Egyptian army in Halayeb and Shalateen In addition to an area of 600 thousand in Fashaga occupied by Ethiopia. The (NCP) regime behaves, as the popular proverb says, he behaves as a lion on unarmed noncombatant civilian citizens of Sudan in Darfur though just an Ostrich in wars with who attacked and seized a vast swathes of areas of the dear homeland!

Inciting Intertribal Warfare

Furthermore, in the Darfur region, the regime of the NCP sought in addition to the crimes of genocide to fragment the eternal social fabric of the citizens by dividing the region into five states based on the tribal lines. As expected, that led into tribal strife and intertribal warfare. Worse, the regime held a bogus referendum for the revocation of the region so as the word and opinion of the people of Darfur fragmented and divided toward their vital issues. Thus, the NCP regime vehemently opposed to Darfur remaining as one region and opted for dismantling it into warring tribal cantons with fragmentation of the social fabric.

Systematic Government Corruption Widespread

The epidemic of government corruption remained widely spread in the decadence era of the (NIF). They looted the country’s oil and gold revenues to foreign banks under the names of relatives of influential people in the regime of the National Congress Party accounts. Furthermore, the putschists as well as sold the major productive state institutions such as the Gezira irrigated agriculture project, Sudan Airways, Sudan Shipping Lines, Sudan railway corporation and privatisation of education and health services and so on! Moreover, they sold the famous Sudan House in the Knight Bridge neighbourhood in London cheaply to a crony investor of the (NCP) regime as well selling the airstrip of the Sudan Airways (Sudan air) at Heathrow Airport. For the legalisation of corruption, the Islamism regime of the (NCP) decided to urge the religious Sheikhs affiliated to it introducing the so-called (Tahalul), meaning biodegradable decomposition and disintegration, which according to their Religious Fatwa removes “Haram” and make it Halal! Still the worse is on the way. The racist supremacist elements in the regime made the unity in Sudan unattractive to the citizens of Southern Sudan through racism by making them take the option of secession and formation of their own nascent state, South Sudan, in 2011. There are plenty of calamities brought about by the ruling regime of the National Congress Party (NCP) to the disenfranchised people of Sudan, but the space does not accommodate the entire reminder.

The genocidal criminal Omar al-Bashir and his Islamism claiming entourage will remain held responsible for the heinous crimes they perpetrated in the rights of the Sudanese people over the 27 lean years of oppressive putschist regime. Thus, autocracy and reign of terror continued for past 27 years despite the fact that the people of Sudan used in the past staunch advocates of fighting for freedom, October 21, 1964, and April 1985 Revolutions as examples.

Unlimited support the genocidal criminal Omar al-Bashir from the African Union 

Omar al-Bashir and his regime took proxy civil wars of attrition safe haven to protect him from the International Court of Court’s (ICC) grip, which has been pursuing him since 2009. This is in addition to the support he receives from the Dictators Club called the African Union (AU) based in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Most of the members of the forum there are afraid of the spin of the circle upon them and fall under the accountability of the international Tribunal. The majority of the Club Members practised systemic repression and continued committing atrocities against the people of their countries.

Support from Some members in the International Community

The (NCP) regime receives political support provided by some permanent members of the UN Security Council. That support is in lieu of the intersecting interests in the form of intelligence on terrorism by the Islamic Jihadi groups from Egypt, Libya and other neighbouring countries, which take Khartoum as refuge on their belief that the Islamist regime of the National Congress Party would give them protection.

EU –Sudan Agreement to Curb Migration exodus from the Horn of Africa to European shores by rewarding the Génocidaire Omer al-Bashir

It is not so exciting or surprising if we look at what the European Union (EU) recently trying to strike a deal with Khartoum. (EU) planned for reaching an agreement with the ruling regime in Sudan for reducing migrants coming from the Horn of Africa countries to Europe through Libya. Germany is to provide an amount of one hundred million euros to Sudan, in addition to the establishment of camps in Eastern Sudan for refugees from Eritrea and Ethiopia, and Somalia. Moreover, there is other additional package of facilities for the training of Sudanese police in Germany to carry out the task of reducing immigration to Europe. They ignored and flouted all the crimes committed by the head of the ruling regime of the NCP, Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir against humanity against the people of Sudan in Darfur, and fugitive from international justice and indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Machiavellian doctrine of end justifies the means continues in operation.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and UNAMID Size and Mandate Change in Darfur

To make bad situation worse, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) decided to reduce the size of the UNAMID Mission in Darfur by 50% and as well as changing its Mandate from Peace and Security keeping to Peace Building Mission on the pretext of cost where US has decided to reduce its financial contribution and/or that insurgence in Darfur has allegedly become thing of the past based on reports by the Sudanese government and some UN report writers! As for the people of Sudan in Darfur, UNAMID Exit or change of its primary mandate would Open Gates for Anarchy, more Lawlessness and hell on earth in Darfur.

We know that The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) last time has renewed the mandate of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) until Friday the 30th June 2017.

More importantly as well is that the reduction of UNAMID forces leads to the removal of the only international witness to the violations of the ruling regime of the National Congress Party, the genocide criminal in the Darfur region. The people of Sudan in Darfur have always advocated the need to strengthen the UNAMID mission and develop its forces by adding troops from Western countries to take an active role in achieving security. Furthermore, the instability in the Darfur region, the continued armed conflict and the continuing crimes of the cloned Janjaweed militias loyal to the ruling (NCP) regime the rapid support forces (RSF) militia all push for the renewal of the joint peacekeeping a Nazi-UNAMID, despite its weak performance, but its departure or the reduction of its personnel or change of its mandate will compromise security and derail the safe unfettered delivery of relief to the needy. Thus, the only international witness will lose the regime’s crimes against the people. More suffering in Darfur would become inevitable and it will result in cloning the ongoing failure in achieving peace to the war-torn Darfur region.

Removal of the Decades-Long Trade and Financial US Sanctions

The recent security rapprochement between the administration of new US President Donald Trump and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) regime could lead to the lifting of trade and economic sanctions entirely by the first half of July 2017 as decided by former US President Barack Obama at the last moment of the end of his term in office.

The rewarding of the genocidal criminal, the fugitive from the international justice, has become the justice of this era of decadence, where politicians in the international community are running behind interests humanity has become something of the past that has no place in the world of international politics today under the hegemony of the single pole! Thus, the pre-existing interests come before the values preserved in the corridors of the UN building in New York, Manhattan!

Edmund Burke the British-Irish Politician, Author, Orator, Political theorist, and Philosopher has been quoted as saying: (All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent).

Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman is an author, columnist and a blogger. His blog is http://thussudan.wordpress.com/

Finance ministry threatens to suspend salaries of Yei officials living in Juba

File photo: Minister of finance Kenyi Abiyaza

File photo: Minister of finance Kenyi Abiyaza

The ministry of finance in South Sudan’s Yei River State has threatened to suspend salaries of senior state officials who are staying in Juba if they fail report to their duty stations.

Yei River State Minister of Finance Kenyi Abiyaza told Radio Tamazuj that 80 percent of the state employees failed to report to their workplaces since the the creation of the state in 2016.

“They are staying in Juba, I personally was in Juba and I had met and informed them to come to the ground. We have sent information telling them to come to Yei,” said Abiyaza.

Abiyaza noted that top officials including ministers, director generals, directors and administrators are supposed to provide services in their various capacities to the various state ministries and counties.

“For those who are not willing to come to Yei we will administratively handle the situation. We will bring all the salaries and after that, you have to come to receive your salaries like any other employees receiving their salaries in Yei. We will not pay salaries to people who are in Juba until they are here, they will receive their pay,” Abiyaza said.

For their part, the state civil servants in Juba claim that Yei River state government does not provide accommodation, security and vehicles for mobility in the counties and state ministries.

Link to web article here.

Misleading statements of U.S. Charge d’Affaires in Khartoum

By Eric Reeves

The Trump administration State Department is evidently content to allow recently appointed Charge d’Affaires Steven Koutsis to remain the senior U.S. diplomat in Khartoum, serving as the primary interlocutor on a day-to-day basis with the genocidal National Congress Party regime, which is now celebrating the 28th anniversary of the military coup that brought it to power—as the National Islamic Front, whose ideology the NCP has never abandoned, only trimmed as circumstances warrant.

In his brief tenure (he was appointed only last year) Koutsis has been the spokesman for views that are disingenuously framed, typically misleading, and alarmingly tendentious. Most alarming are his comments of June 24, first reported by Agence France-Presse (El Daien, East Darfur | June 24, 2017), but subsequently by many other news organizations. Referring to those expressing grave concern about Khartoum’s increasing repression and continuing violent suppression of political dissent, religious intolerance, its abysmal human rights record, and its continuing deployment of brutal militia forces in Darfur and elsewhere in Sudan, Koutsis declared:

“None of these other issues were the point of sanctions, and none of these other issues, therefore, should be linked to the lifting of sanctions.”

Here Koutsis is so egregiously in error that we must question his basic diplomatic competence in dealing with the Khartoum regime. U.S. economic sanctions imposed by President Clinton in 1997 are explicit about why they were being imposed; in the Preface of his Executive Order, Clinton declared:

We must wonder what part of “the prevalence of human rights violations, including slavery and the denial of religious freedom” escaped Koutsis’ understanding. Rather more to the point, we must ask whether it was an unforgiveable ignorance of this language in the 1997 Executive Order—or a cynical belief that no one would call him on the outrageous inaccuracy of his statement.

Does Koutsis think that “human rights violations” in Sudan are a minor issue, merely a tag-on to U.S. concerns about Khartoum’s support for international terrorism, support that has kept the NIF/NCP regime on the State Department’s list of “state sponsors of terrorism” for 20 years? Sudan, Syria, and Iran are the only three countries in the world that remain on this list, and for good reason.

But that fact in no way diminishes the appalling nature of human rights abuses by the same regime in its treatment of its own people: torture by the security services is commonplace; the denial of press freedoms only grows more rigorous; suppression of demonstrations has taken the form of regime orders to “shoot to kill” demonstrators (September 2013); political power-sharing and democratization has been relentlessly subverted; bombing of civilian and humanitarian targets by the regime’s military aircraft has been a primary tactic in its wars against marginalize populations living in Sudan’s peripheries (see | http://wp.me/p45rOG-Pv ); chemical weapons were used against civilians in Jebel Marra during the savage military offensive mounted by the regime’s regular and militia forces in 2016 (established conclusively by Amnesty International | September 29, 2016 | https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/09/chemical-weapons-attacks-darfur/ ).

Koutsis would evidently have us believe that none of this matters, or bears on the decision about whether the U.S. should lift sanctions on the regime—sanctions actually strengthened under the Bush administration in 2006 in response to the regime’s continuing genocidal counter-insurgency in Darfur. President (and former self-promoted “Field Marshal”) Omar al-Bashir—installed in office during the 1989 military coup—is the target of an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court, charging him with multiple counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. The ICC has issued arrest warrant for other members of regime, charging them with crimes against humanity; and many more arrest warrants will be issued when the regime eventually falls.

Again, then, what are we to make of Koutsis’ viciously inaccurate claim that all this is beside the point?

“None of these other issues were the point of sanctions, and none of these other issues, therefore, should be linked to the lifting of sanctions.”

If nothing else, this pernicious falsehood provides context for other of Koutsis’ remarks this year, remarks that create a deeply distorted and highly tendentious picture of present conditions in Sudan—and Darfur in particular.

One of the key “tracks” stipulated in the gravely misguided decision by President Obama to lift sanctions provisionally (January 13, 2017) was an improvement in humanitarian access. The Khartoum regime has for almost three decades used the denial of humanitarian access as a central weapon of war in its counter-insurgency campaigns: in the Nuba Mountains and South Sudan in the 1990s and through the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005; in Darfur from the beginning of major fighting in 2003; and again in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan and Blue Nile State beginning in summer 2011.

This has been extraordinarily well documented, by journalists, humanitarian workers, and human rights organizations. So when former Obama administration UN ambassador Samantha Power declared in her last UN press conference (January 13, 2017) that there had been “sea change” of improvement in humanitarian access in Sudan, she was promulgating a deeply destructive falsehood, one admitted to be such by State Department officials. Yet no clarification or correction came—even from Power’s friends in the administration, including National Security Advisor Susan Rice and US Agency for International Development Administrator Gayle Smith, who said nothing—and this perverse characterization stands as the last word prior to Koutsis’ recent remarks on the issue:

“I can say without much hesitation that, with the few exceptions, the advances on the five tracks have been positive,” US charge d’affaires in Khartoum, Steven Koutsis, said. “The few exceptions being… the implementation of humanitarian access is uneven… and that we want to see that the government begins to act more on moving towards a more permanent agreement with the opposition” on ending hostilities.

“The implementation of humanitarian access is uneven”?

What a preposterous understatement: rebel-controlled areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile remain under a humanitarian embargo imposed by the regime, which has resolutely refused to negotiate humanitarian access in good faith. In February 2012 an African Union, UN, and Arab League proposal for such access (known as the “Tripartite Proposal”) was accepted by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-North) in South Kordofan and Blue Nile—but was rejected by Khartoum. Over more than five years, in countless negotiating session, the regime has found ways to accept and then renege, to add condition after condition, to do everything possible to make an agreement on humanitarian access impossible.

Yet when Koutsis weighed in on this issue in a piece written for Sudan Tribune (March 3, 2017), he essentially blamed the SPLM-North leadership, pointing to their reservation about a questionable U.S. proposal made in November 2016—but referring to none of the antecedent history of bad faith by the regime that led to the SPLM-North reservation. This extremely attenuated version of the history of this critical issue is all too typical of what we have seen of Koutsis, who has also not done nearly enough to highlight the overwhelming urgency of the humanitarian situation in Darfur, where access continues to be denied by the regime to many hundreds of thousands of civilians (almost 1 million people according to one highly-informed humanitarian source).

[See also: http://sudanreeves.org/2017/04/04/famine-in-south-sudan-should-not-obscure-urgent-food-crisis-in-sudan/]

Humanitarian access is “uneven”? This is simply disgraceful dishonesty given the number of people denied any humanitarian relief by the regime Koutsis seems so eager to give a passing grade:

“I can say without much hesitation that, with the few exceptions, the advances on the five tracks have been positive,” US charge d’affaires in Khartoum, Steven Koutsis, said. (AFP, June 24, 2017)

Koutsis simply refuses to acknowledge the extent of desperate humanitarian need in Sudan, and this now includes a raging cholera epidemic, affecting nearly all of Sudan, and that has now reached Darfur just as the rainy season begins in earnest. Humanitarian access could not be more urgently required and the distortions by former UN ambassador Samantha Power and now Steven Koutsis are terrible betrayals of people in critical need.

Koutsis seems already to be looking past the decision on whether to lift U.S. economic sanctions permanently, going so far as to declare last August (2016):

The acting U.S. Chargé d’Affaires in Khartoum Steven Koutsis has expressed his country’s keenness to provide technical and logistical support for Sudan to face challenges of climate change. (Sudan Tribune | August 22, 2016 | KHARTOUM)

But about the chemical weapons assault by Khartoum against the civilians of Jebel Marra—also in 2016—Koutsis said not a word, a silence in which he was joined by the rest of the world, including those who profess themselves outraged by the use of chemical weapons in Syria. This Obama administration Secretary of State John Kerry, who called chemical weapons use in Syria a “moral obscenity,” but was completely silent about what Amnesty International had conclusively demonstrated about Khartoum’s use of the same sort of weapons in Jebel Marra.

Climate change is a real, present, and massive danger to the world; but chemical weapons use in Darfur is not for that reason less a matter of the gravest concern, a concern that U.S. Charge d’Affaires Steven Koutsis evidently does not share.

Nor does he share the concern articulated so comprehensively in two recent reports on Khartoum’s success in turning Darfur into a “militia state”:

Border Control from Hell: How the EU’s migration partnership legitimizes Sudan’s “militia state” The Enough Project | April 5, 2017 [by Suliman Baldo] | http://www.enoughproject.org/files/BorderControl_April2017_Enough_Finals.pdf

“Remote-control breakdown: Sudanese paramilitary forces and pro-government militias,” Small Arms Survey (Geneva), No. 27, April 2017 | http://www.smallarmssurveysudan.org/fileadmin/docs/issue-briefs/HSBA-IB-27-Sudanese-paramilitary-forces.pdf

Not to highlight the central role of Khartoum-backed militias in Darfur—to say only that “we want to see that the government begins to act more on moving towards a more permanent agreement with the opposition” on ending hostilities—is to reveal either ignorance or indifference to the most consequential nature of present violence and insecurity in Darfur. Koutsis declares, “Yes, I can say with absolute certainty that Darfur today is more peaceful than it was a year ago.” But his “certainty” is only superficially informed—like his knowledge of the contents of the 1997 Executive Order he wishes to see ended permanently—and ignores countless dispatches from Radio Dabanga and Sudan Tribune that make nonsense of Koutsis’ characterization.

The rape of women and girls is relentless [http://wp.me/p45rOG-1QG/]; the violent expropriation of African farmland by Arab militias and armed groups continues apace [http://wp.me/p45rOG-1P /; camps for the displaced face relentless assaults in one form or another, some by way of arson. Khartoum has made no secret of its wish to dismantle the camps [http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Qo/], a task that will be made easier and less visible with the slashing of UNAMID—44 percent of its present (already reduced) military presence, and over 30 percent of its police forces (also already reduced). If the camps are dismantled and emptied, we may expect a collapse of organized humanitarian relief and an orgy of violence as people lose their only security, tenuous though it is.

In the face of these realities, it would appear that Koutsis is a man equally capable of both the most culpable ignorance and the most cynical indifference to human suffering in the country where he serves as the United States’ senior diplomat. Moreover, as AFP editorializes in its dispatch, Koutsis’ “assessment of Darfur is expected to guide Washington’s decision on sanctions.”

Given Koutsis demonstrated ignorance and cynicism, we must fear a terribly unjust reward awaits Khartoum’s génocidaires.

— 
Eric Reeves, Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights

Link to web article here.

Japan envoy urges release of S. Sudan political detainees

July 5, 2017 (JUBA) – The Japanese ambassador in South Sudan, Kiya Masahiko has called for the release of political detainees who are currently being held in connection to the ongoing conflict in the world’s youngest nation.

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Japan’s envoy to South Sudan Kiya Masahiko meets President Salva Kiir in Juba, July 5, 2017 (ST)

Such a move, he said, paves way for an inclusive national dialogue.

Masahiko made the call Wednesday after holding talks with South Sudan President on issues of mutual interest, during which he called on the latter to “make concrete steps and ensure that all the people of South Sudan broadly participate, agree and accept its agenda and outcomes to make the national dialogue successful”.

“I came to visit his Excellency the president and to discuss with him issues of mutual interests and to the people of both countries. Japanese government and people hopes to see South Sudanese leaders take “concrete steps” towards achieving peace in the country”, the diplomat told reporters in the capital, Juba.

Wednesday meeting, he further disclosed, mainly centered on issues related to current situation in the war-torn nation, and that he appreciated the move taken by the president when he launched the national dialogue, but needs to be followed by concrete steps.

Masahiko, however, assured the president of Japan’s commitment towards the national dialogue and the peace process, but urged government to improve and provide a conductive environment in terms of commitment of the ceasefire, release of political prisoners, enhancing security and allow free movement of aid agencies.

These measures, he further stressed, would contribute into making National Dialogue an inclusive, transparent and credible.

The envoy also used the occasion to appeal to South Sudan opposition leaders to willingly join the national dialogue process.

Officially launched in May this year, he national dialogue is both a forum and process through which the people South Sudan shall gather to redefine the basis of their unity as it relates to nationhood, redefine citizenship and belonging, as well as restructure the state for national inclusion.

Since mid-December 2013, tens of thousands of people have been killed and over two million displaced in South Sudan’s wort-ever violence outbreak.

(ST)

Link to web article here.