ICC Indictees Campaign

As DWAG kicks off our Indictee Tracker campaign to hold the interim Sudanese government accountable to their promise to turn over Harun, al Bashir, and Hussein to the International Criminal Court (ICC), we want to remind our network of their charges and why the immediate transfer to ICC custody is essential to securing justice for Darfur.

The most time-sensitive case is that of Ahmad Muhammad Harun. Harun is charged with 20 counts of crimes against humanity including murder, persecution, the forcible transfer of population, rape, inhumane acts, imprisonment or severe deprivation of, and torture. He is also charged with 22 counts of war crimes including murder, attacks against the civilian population, destruction of property, rape, pillaging, and outrage upon personal dignity. His arrest warrant was issued on April 27, 2007 for crimes committed between at least August 2003 to March 2004. The attacks were carried out by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the janjaweed militia on West Darfur villages (Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar, and Arawala). 

In his capacity as Minister of State for the Interior during 2003-2005, Harun leveraged the “Darfur Security Desk” against the people of Darfur. He also recruited, mobilised, funded and armed the janjaweed to attack in tandem with government forces (including local police, SAF, and intelligence agencies). After his tenure as Minister of State for the Interior, Harun served as Sudan’s Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, Governor of South Kordofan, and Governor of North Kordofan before being imprisoned in the aftermath of the 2019 coup.

Harun must be immediately turned over to the ICC so he may be tried alongside Ali Kushayb. Ali Kushayb was a former leader of janjaweed forces who worked directly with Harun to secure the janjaweed with the resources and security to perpetrate the Darfur genocide. He is currently in ICC custody and awaiting a confirmation of charges. 151 victims have been authorized to testify during his trial. However, as both leaders conspired to enable attacks on West Darfur, their victims are one in the same. They have waited too long to see justice. Until Harun and Ali Kushayb are tried together, accountability for the heinous attacks on Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar, and Arawala between August 2003 – March 2004 cannot be fully realized.

Former President of the Republic of Sudan Omar Hassan Ahmad al Bashir has been in Sudanese custody since ousted from power on April 11, 2019. Al Bashir was the first sitting president to be charged by the ICC on March 4, 2009 and then again on July 12, 2010 for crimes committed between at least March 2003 and July 14, 2008 across Darfur. Al Bashir is charged with five counts of crimes against humanity including murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture, and rape. He is also charged with two counts of war crimes including intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population and against innocent individual civilians, and pillaging. Lastly, al Bashir is charged with three counts of genocide by means of killing, by causing serious bodily or mental harm, and by deliberately inflicting on each target group conditions of life calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction. Such conditions of life include contaminating the water supply of entire communities, coordinating government forces and janjaweed militias to threaten villages, and preventing aid from reaching those in need. 

President al Bashir launched a genocidal campaign against the Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa tribes for their perceived connection to opposition movements. The ICC charges him as a primary driver and implementer of the campaign in exercising full control of the government branches and janjaweed militias. Among his victims are thousands of murdered civilians, the rape of thousands of women, hundreds of thousands of civilians forcibly transferred. So far, 12 of these victims have been authorized to participate in the proceedings. DWAG strongly urges for the ICC to work with survivors and bring more victim testimony to the international court for justice after al Bashir is transferred to ICC custody.

Former Minister of National Defense Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein has also been in Sudanese custody since the aftermath of the 2019 coup. Hussein is charged with seven counts of crimes against humanity including persecution, murder, forcible transfer, rape, inhumane acts, imprisonment or severe deprivation of liberty, and torture. He is also charged with six counts of war crimes including murder, attacks against a civilian population, destruction of property, rape, pillaging, and outrage upon personal dignity. His arrest warrant was issued on March 1, 2012 for crimes committed between at least 2003 and 2004 across Darfur.

Hussein used his position as Minister of National Defense to coordinate government resources and armed forces to execute al Bashir’s genocidal campaign against Darfur. He actively recruited, armed, and funded local police and janjaweed alike to carry out civilian attacks against the people of Darfur. Hussein was instrumental in the attacks against the Fur populations of Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar, and Arawala. Prior to his tenure as Minister of National Defense, Hussein served as Minister of the Interior and Special Representative of the President in Darfur.

The people of Darfur have waited long enough to have their day in court and tell the world of the heinous crimes they endured. Darfur and the Two Areas continue to be plagued by violence and acts of genocide that were initially perpetrated and enabled by Harun, al Bashir, and Hussein. The interim government remains riddled with remnants of the previous administration intent on impeding the restoration of justice. The transfer of Harun, al Bashir, and Hussein is an essential step towards securing the confidence of the people of Darfur and fulfilling their promise of justice. The imprisonment of the indictees in Sudanese custody proves insufficient to the magnitude of their crimes. DWAG urges the interim government to keep their promise and immediately transfer the indictees to ICC custody. The interim government cannot waver in their commitment to serving Sudanese civilians, including and especially the diverse people of Darfur.

Un Women’s Generation Equality Forum

In light of UN Women’s Generation Equality Forum, Darfur Women Action Group is sharing how Darfuri women are answering to the devastating inequalities they face. Though an afterthought to most governments, gender inequality has bled into the world of genocide, making women significantly more vulnerable to violence, specifically sexual violence, than men. The women of Darfur are meeting this challenge with strength. 

To hear more voices from Darfur, read the stories below. They have been collected by Darfur Women Action Group as a way to raise awareness to the situation of women and girls in Darfur. They do not only show the horror of the mass atrocities in Darfur, but also the courage and resilience that these individuals have demonstrated in the face of the longest genocide in history. 

Between Unspeakable Suffering and Outstanding Resilience

My name is Hawa Mohamed and I lived in a beautiful village in Darfur surrounded by tall acacia trees. Towards the west, there was a green valley named Azum that provided us with mango, guavas, oranges, and beautiful gardens for six months during the rainy season. Toward the east, there were sugarcane farms. I considered everyone in my village to be rich. Through hard work, they cultivated all types of grains, vegetables, and fruits. They also raised goats, sheep, and cows. Most people had what they needed to survive and only went to the market to buy clothes, soap, and sugar. Everyone was very friendly and supportive. If you needed help building a house, the community would come together and finish the house in one day. Life was beautiful and I was very happy.

It Was The Happiest Moment, and I Will Never Have it Back

My name is Aisha Khalil and I am currently living in an internally displaced person (IDP) camp in central Darfur. I am here because my life changed in July 2003, when I was only 10 years old. It was a beautiful sunny day in my village. It was a market day, which was always the best day of the week because my mom, dad, and grandmother would purchase all sorts of fruits and snacks for my siblings and me. In the evening, we gathered outside as they distributed our gifts. Grandmother told us stories under the moonlight and pointed out this one star that was higher than usual. She said it was a sign that it wasn’t going to rain much this year. We all laughed and asked how she knew such things. It was the happiest moment, and I will never have it back.

I Went to Jail Because I am Not Afraid to Stand Up for Rape Victims

My name is Fatima Gazali. I was born in Kurdufan, an area in Western Sudan. My family is from Darfur and still live there, so I consider myself to be a Darfuri as well. As a child, I used to enjoy watching movies on television, particularly the ones that had female characters that were journalists. They seemed so empowered and independent – everything that I wanted to become someday. As a teenager, I began imitating those characters by writing for school magazines and newspapers. I eventually went to college to study journalism. In 2001, I graduated and started working for a local newspaper in the capital of Sudan.

Lost and Helpless At a Camp In Chad

My name is Amani E. and I am a refugee from Darfur currently living in the Cary Yary Refugee camp in eastern Chad. I was born in Amboro village, in north Darfur, and I used to work as an elementary school teacher. I loved my job. Now I am a widow, and I raise two beautiful daughters who have lost their dad.

Statement on the US Denial of Entry Visa for Salah Gosh

The Darfur Women Action Group commends Secretary of State Pompeo and the United States’ decision to deny the entry visa of Salah Gosh, former head of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS). We appreciate the commitment that the United States showed in holding Gosh accountable for his actions in the Darfur genocide, which includes gross violations of human rights and torture. In the future, we hope the United States shows a continued dedication in holding all members of the former al-Bashir regime responsible for their involvement in the genocide in Darfur. We urge Secretary Pompeo to use other effective tools such as travel bans, asset freezing, sanctions, and criminal accountability measures to hold perpetrators of such serious crimes accountable. We also urge Secretary Pompeo to use these tools to prevent members of the former al-Bashir regime from collaborating with the United States, its international allies, and its regional allies at all levels. This action by the Secretary of State demonstrates the United States’ leadership’s commitment to the prevention of atrocities, such as gross human rights violations, and their ability to hold criminals accountable.  

Civil Society Groups Delivered Urgent Letter to the UNSC and the ICC States Parties

On August 7th, the Darfur Women Action Group, along with eighteen other civil society groups, sent an urgent letter to the member states of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) urging them to expedite the arrest of al-Bashir and other Sudanese officials indicted by the ICC.  The letter stressed that al-Bashir is no longer a head of state and there has never been a better time in Sudan to implement the pending ICC arrest warrants.

Read the full text of the letter here: Urgent Letter to UNSC and ICC 7 Aug.

We urge you to join us on social media by sharing this letter and denouncing al-Bashir. Collectively we can make a difference and bring an end to the genocide in Darfur. 


Statement On the Appointment of Donald Booth, Special Envoy for Sudan

The Darfur Women Action Group does not approve of the appointment of Donald Booth as the U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan. We are wholly disappointed by his tenure as Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan under the Obama administration, and sincerely question his ability to produce tangible results for the U.S. government or the people of Sudan.
Booth is a career diplomat. It is not doubted that he is well-respected in Washington, and well-traveled on the continent of Africa. We refuse, however, to compromise the right we have for competency in our diplomats for that of seniority or ‘experience.’ We believe a new appointment––a fresh diplomatic face––with a less tumultuous past is necessary.
Donald Booth led the effort to “pave a road toward…normalization of U.S.-Sudan relations,” as he stated in a 2014 Atlantic Council meeting. Booth wanted to forge a relationship with Sudan on a “restoration of a relationship based on mutual understanding and shared interests.” The Darfur Women Action Group cannot fathom how the US can possibly maintain a ‘mutual understanding’ with a regime actively committing genocide. Booth, however, still perceived this relationship as peaceful. Booth was complacent; he failed to defend American values: protecting fundamental liberties and rights.
Under Ambassador Booth’s leadership, the people of Sudan have lost faith in America, its ability to broker peace. The Trump Administration has the opportunity to contribute to lasting peace in Sudan, but only if they can appoint a diplomat with the conviction and motivation to affect real change.
Not only did Booth want to normalize relations with a murderous regime, he actively neglected those being murdered. During his initial fact-finding missions to North and Central Darfur in 2016, Booth was silent. Booth failed to put forth any statements regarding the atrocities committed. We cannot trust him to speak up now. Internally displaced individuals who talked to Booth during his visits were quickly arrested afterward by the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service Forces without any prevail by Booth to grant them release or protection. His appointment will once again silence those who have been suffering in Darfur for 17 years.
For years the American public and policymakers have protested the longstanding crises in Darfur and consistently called for U.S. leadership in holding Sudan accountable. Similarly, in the recent weeks, they mobilized again in support of the people of Sudan demanding effective U.S. policy that will put the halt to the suffering and pave the way for peace, something that Both has repeatedly failed to deliver upon.
The people of Sudan have suffered long enough. Rather than appointing someone with a history of overlooking violations of human rights in the country, we urge the United States to select a diplomat not simply of expertise, but of passion, of a deep understanding of Sudan and its relations.

Darfur Village Set Ablaze : 16 Years of Genocide

65c9bf0f-1625-4c85-a26f-25904cbc1a8aOn Monday evening, reports came in that the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) had commenced the burning of Delaige, a village located in Western Darfur. The Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) strongly condemns this egregious crime against humanity. DWAG is extremely concerned about the current surge of violence against civilians coupled with lack of access to communication and information. DWAG demands unimpeded access to humanitarian aid and that access to free and independent reporting be immediately provided. This attacks on Delaige camp is not an isolated incident. It’s a part of the systemic and orchestrated attacks against the indigenous Darfuris that has been carried out by Sudan government and the leaders of the current Sudan’s Transitional Military Council.

The RSF reportedly commenced the slaughter of those residing in Delaige on Sunday evening, killing six. By Monday afternoon, the Janjaweed had enclosed the village of Delaige, blocking escape and confining residents to indoors. At that time, the death toll was reported as 16 individuals.

A video surfaced this morning of the village in flames, suggesting a sharp escalation in violence. The RSF, with the motivation of forcibly ending civil disobedience, is committed to perpetrating more crimes against humanity to achieve their disingenuous goal.

It is extremely likely that the actual toll on lives lost is higher, but a blackout on communication, internet shutdown, and slaughter of dissidents has prevented verifiable reports truly encapsulating the massacre. On June 7, the United Nations issued a press release stating that the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) would look into, “the ‘rapid deployment’ of a monitoring team to look into allegations of serious rights violations.”

The Transitional Military Council leaders are equally responsible for the ongoing crimes committed in Darfur and the recent massacres. They will likely reject the advancement of the UN human rights monitoring team into Sudan, furthering an information blackout under which the TMC may commit more crimes against its own people. This attack has been systematically directed towards the same groups that have been targeted for years in genocide, and that have been forced to live in camps since 2003. The situation in Sudan is growingly volatile, given the ongoing crises and the vulnerability of civilians living in camps for years, this recent incident makes the situation ever so dire.

We strongly urge the United States government and the UNSC to take an effective action that will end the suffering in Darfur and bring lasting peace to Sudan. The U.S. must publicly condemn these attacks and pressure the Transitional Military Council for a timely transfer of authority to a civilian, democratic government.

With this dangerous development on the ground in Sudan and Darfur in particular, we must speak up and demand that world leaders take concerted action and hold the perpetrator of these heinous crimes accountable. In the coming days, Darfur Women Action Group will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates and opportunities to take action. Please check us on Twitter, for updates of events on the ground as they become available.

A Brutal Massacre is Unfolding in Sudan

Darfur Women Action Group express its grave concerns about the brutal massacre against protesters in Sudan and calls for immediate investigation and accountability for the perpetrator of the most heinous attacks against innocent civilians.

In the capital city of Khartoum, Sudanese protestors have been staging a peaceful sit-in since April 6th. The sit-in began a revolution that toppled the regime of Omar al-Bashir, but the struggle for establishing a truly democratic government wasn’t over. Protestors continued their demands for a representative government and entered into negotiations with the Transitional Military Council (TMC) to transfer the power to civilian government.

On Monday, the TMC deployed troops from the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia to quell the ongoing sit-in. The RSF then committed a massacre against civilian protestors. The RSF forcibly took control of the sit-in by seizing and setting fire to the tents of protestors and blocking all access roads into and out of Khartoum. RSF forces also attacked protestors with live ammunition, killing at least 100 individuals. The Sudanese Doctors Central Committee continues to count the individuals murdered by the RSF, closely monitoring the situation. It was reported on Monday that RSF forces and the security forces backing them forced individuals at the sit-in to lay on the ground, and then subjected them to whipping. They also shaved the heads of some protestors and reportedly forced others to drink sewage water. The Sudanese Doctors Central Committee also said that RSF and security forces laid siege to the Royal Care Hospital, El Mualim Hospital, and the clinic of University of Khartoum – effectively preventing the individuals they wounded while carrying out their attack from receiving care. Later, one doctor reported to Radio Dabanga that RSF troops were threatening to storm the hospital and kill the protestors inside.

RSF forces threw the bodies of those they murdered into the Nile, and on Wednesday, those bodies began floating to the surface. Forty individuals were pulled from the Nile, increasing the number of dead to at least 100. Some of these bodies are being identified while others were loaded into trucks by the RSF and taken to an unknown location; meanwhile families continue to report their loved ones missing since Monday’s massacre took place. Some of the bodies show signs of being shot or hacked by machetes.

Around the country protestors are taking to the streets, outraged by the violent attacks in Khartoum. The Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC) has ended all negotiations with the Transitional Military Council, refusing to cooperate with the individuals responsible for the carnage that occurred on Monday. The AFC is calling for an escalation of the revolution, an “open, nationwide, general strike and complete civil disobedience until the regime is overthrown.” In Darfur, where over 3 million genocide victims are still in camps, people are calling for more sit-ins, political strikes, and civil disobedience. The internet and direct communication lines are cut off, militia vehicles patrol the streets, and there is no way in or out of Khartoum – making an already dire situation even more critical. The RSF also responded to sit-ins and protests in other parts of the country. Protestors in El Gadaref were wounded when police dispersed protestors with live ammunition and tear gas. In El Nahud of West Kordofan, one protestor was shot dead while another was wounded. In Ed Damiz of the Blue Nile State, RSF forces again attacked protestors by seizing and burning their tents and arresting them.

This tragic attack is not an isolated incident. The same Transitional Military Council that is perpetrating the massacre in Khartoum this week has been slaughtering civilians in Darfur for 17 years. The result is genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity – for which criminal president al Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court. The transitional Military Council led by Al Burhan and Hemeti are equally responsible for the genocide committed in Darfur. Now, they extended their violent reach to Khartoum, which is only possible because they haven’t been held accountable for their crimes. – Niemat Ahmadi, DWAG President

These tragic attacks have brought about multiple international responses – individuals and organizations are speaking out in formal statements condemning Monday’s massacre. The United Nations Secretary General is calling for “unimpeded access to deliver essential care,” and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is calling for and end to violence and promotion of peaceful demonstrations. The British Foreign Minister and Ambassador to Sudan, the European Union, the African Union and the US embassy in Khartoum have all released statements condemning the attacks. Human Rights Watch too condemned the actions of the RSF, with Jehanne Henry declaring “yesterday’s violence reminds us of the serious RSF abuses against civilians in Sudan’s war zones and it requires more than condemnations… Key international actors should impose targeted punitive sanctions against those responsible for the violence and urgently establish a UN inquiry.”

While DWAG appreciates these responses, we believe the situation in Sudan is dangerous and needs effective actions, not a few words of condemnation by the international community. How many more people must be killed before the international community acts? DWAG strongly believes that world leaders, regional and international bodies must take a rigorous action to end the current and the long-standing crimes committed with impunity in Sudan. The brave decision made by the African Union to expel Sudan from the AU is type of action that we want to see, and hope other international bodies will take similar measures to force the Military Council to end its barbaric  and violent rule.

  • We urge the United Nations Security Council members to immediately send human rights observers, investigate the crimes and hold the perpetrators accountable.
  • We urge the member states of ICC and UNSC to demand immediate arrest of President al-Bashir and the former officials wanted by the ICC to be surrendered to the court to face justice.
  • We call on the United States Government to exercise pressure over the Transitional Military Council, backed by Islamist regime, to immediately seize attackers and transfer power to a civilian government.
  • We urge the US and the African Union to stop the Saudi and the Emirati governments from interfering and exploiting the conditions on the ground in Sudan.

We wish to remind the world that the current violence in Sudan is the cost of impunity for the genocide crimes enjoyed by al-Bashir and these very military leaders who are trying to shield him.

Thank you,

Darfur Women Action Group