Sudan: Fact-finding Mission, 2004


The mission of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to Sudan took place from 8th to 18th July 2004. An earlier mission, which was planned to take place in early March  2004, could not proceed due to communication problems resulting in the late receipt of the request for authorization sent by the Secretariat of the African Commission to the authorities in  Sudan.

At the start of its mission the African Commission’s mission met Dr. Abdelmonem Osman Taha, the Rapporteur of the Advisory Council for Human Rights, the organisation designated by  the Government of Sudan to coordinate the mission’s programme. The mission then met H.E Ali Mohammed Osman Yassin, Minister of Justice, H.E. Najeep Elkhair the State Minister of  Foreign Affairs of Sudan, Honourable Judge Abdel Diem Zumrawi, the Under Secretary, Ministry of Justice, as well as senior civil servants and representatives of national and international humanitarian organizations in Khartoum. The mission then visited the Darfur region where it was able to visit camps for displaced persons and hold discussions with political and  administrative heads, humanitarian organizations operating on the ground and IDPs.


136. The mission is making the following recommendations to the Government.

137. The Government should accept the setting up of an International Commission of Enquiry, which would include international experts from the United Nations, African Union, Arab States, international humanitarian and human rights organisations with the following terms of reference: 

  1. to investigate the role and involvement of the military, the police, and other security forces in the Darfur conflict, and to establish those responsible for committing war crimes and crimes  against humanity, violation of human rights and international humanitarian law and ensure that they are brought to justice;
  2. to investigate the role of rebel movements, all armed militias, in particular the Janjawids, the Pashtun, the Pashmerga,and the Torabora,  and to establish those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and massive violation of human rights and international humanitarian law and ensure that they are brought to justice.
  3. to rehabilitate the destroyed physical security infrastructure, and to suspend any police or security agents who are alleged to have been involved in the violation of human rights, pending the finalisation of investigations.

138. The Government should allow the International Commission of Inquiry unhindered access to the Darfur region to enable it to thoroughly investigate alleged human rights violations with a view of further investigating as to whether or not genocide has occurred.

139. The Government should immediately stop the military and aerial bombardment of the civilian population, and should take appropriate measures to protect the civilian population  against attacks by armed groups, in particular the Janjawids, and rebel forces by accepting the deployment of African Union peacekeeping/protection forces.

140. The government should ensure that no more bombardment of civilian population occurs.

141. The Government should disarm all irregular armed groups, in particular the Janjawid militia, the Pashtun, the Torabora, the Pashmerga, and any such militias operating illegally within the Darfur.

142. The Government should undertake training programmes for the police and security forces on human rights and international humanitarian law principles.

143. In recognition of the existence of the weapon culture, which is a major problem in the Darfur, the international community should assist the government in a disarmament,  demobilisation and rehabilitation programme  (DDR) for the militia, by creating a special fund to buy back the weapons which are so readily available to the militia in Darfur.

144. The Government should provide the National Commission of Inquiry and the recently established Women’s Committees with all the resources and expertise, and where possible, accept international technical assistance from the UN, AU, Arab League, or any international humanitarian and human rights organisations, needed to effectively perform their mission.

145. The Government should ensure that the terms of reference of the Commission of Inquiry set up on 08 May 2004, specifically include investigation of all human rights violations

146. The government should ensure that all reports on rape already lodged with the police should be immediately investigated by the police and the culprits are brought to justice.

147. The Government should bear the cost of medical care and psychological treatment for victims of violence and sexual abuse, notably rape.

148. The Government should take urgent measures to facilitate access by humanitarian agencies to IDP camps which have not been accessed and enable the supply of humanitarian assistance in the form of water, food, shelter and other essential needs to them.

149. The implementation of the government policy of repatriation should be strictly voluntary, on condition that the security and social infrastructure is repaired and the burnt out villages are rebuilt. To that end, the mission is recommending that Government fully cooperate with international humanitarian agencies and other relevant partners with a view to ensuring that the above-mentioned conditions are fully adhered to, thereby ensuring that displaced persons and the refugees return voluntarily to their villages of origin.

150. The arbitrary arrest and detention without trial of opposition politicians, on account of their political views concerning the Darfur conflict, under emergency powers, is a violation of the African Charter. The Government should either release the 73 political detainees including Mr. Hassan Al Turabi or immediately bring them before the courts so that they can defend 
themselves against the allegations made by the state.

151. The Commission therefore recommends to the Government of Sudan to abide by its international obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law, and in particular the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to ensure that it guarantees the enjoyment by its people of their basic rights, in spite of their cultural and ethnic diversity.