Sudan: Genocidal escalation?

Military operations by the Sudanese Army continue in the state of South Kordofan in a resurgence of violence that many fear is indicative of a return to genocidal conflict. Attacks by government troops have so far been concentrated in areas accused of having been friendly to Southern rebels during the decades-long civil war.

Reports have surfaced that government soldiers are carrying out house-to-house arrests and executions based on individuals’ ethnic affiliation, and purposely targeting civilians during military operations. There have also been unconfirmed reports of mass graves around the South Kordofan capital of Kadugli.

The UN peacekeeping force in the area has proven too small to adequately protect civilians. The UN estimates that more than 100,000 people have already been displaced, and that if the fighting continues, aid organizations will be unable to reach at least 400,000 people reliant on them for food and other necessities.

President Bashir has said the government attacks are in response to Southern aggression against Northern forces. But many believe that Bashir initiated the fighting to prevent the oil-rich disputed border region from seceding along with the rest of the South come July 9, when the country is due to split into two independent states.

Libya: New documentation of crimes

The Guardian reported that dozens of files pulled from police stations and army bases in Misrata directly implicate Muammar Qaddafi and other senior Libyan officials in war crimes. In response to the discovery, the International Criminal Court’s lead prosecutor called for arrest warrants for these individuals.

Qaddafi denies accusations that he has violated international human rights law in attempting to squelch the revolution in Libya. But the recently unearthed documents include direct orders from him and other high-ranking military and government officials sanctioning illegal actions against both civilians and combatants during the siege of the city.

In one instance a command was given to stop all supply trucks from entering Misrata, effectively leaving its inhabitants without food, water, or fuel. In another, an order was given to hunt down wounded enemy combatants, violating the rules of war laid out in the Geneva Conventions.

The documents were only saved thanks to a few young Libyan lawyers who persuaded protestors to protect the buildings against arson. According to the Guardian, this “represent(s) a landmark in international justice because no significant war crimes trial in the short history of international courts has had access to documents directly implicating the lead players in the commission of war crimes.”

Photo: ENOUGH Project