Yesterday, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issued a press release that stated possible war crimes may have been committed in Southern Kordofan as a result of indiscriminate bombing by the Government of Sudan. As their release states:
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch documented 13 separate bombing incidents in Kauda, Delami and Kurchi towns alone, in which at least 26 civilians were killed and more than 45 others injured since mid-June. Antonov aircraft dropped bombs over farmlands and villages on a near-daily basis while researchers were on the ground from August 14-21. Researchers were present when three bombs were dropped from an Antonov aircraft on August 19, and photographed the incident. In all the attacks investigated by researchers, there were seemingly no legitimate military targets near to where the bombs struck, according to victims and witnesses.
The report by AI and HRW follows a month of considerable attention on Southern Kordofan. Earlier this month, the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) also released a report detailing possible crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by the Government of Sudan. The report covers the period of June 5-30, and describes a wide range of alleged violations of international law in Kadguli and the surrounding Nuba Mountains, including aerial bombardments against civilian areas, which the press release states has led to “significant loss of life.” In the wake of the report, Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, urged for an inquiry to substantiate its claims.
The Satellite Sentinel Project also released a report this month that has substantiated earlier evidence they compiled of the existence of mass graves in Kadugli, Southern Kordofan as a result of Government of Sudan-perpetrated mass killing in the area. As the Editor’s Note of the report states:
It is now two months since reports of the systematic killing of civilians in Kadugli by Government of Sudan-aligned forces first emerged. The debate continues about what further steps the US and the international community should take in response to the gross violations of human rights that have been reported. What should no longer be debated, however, is that these alleged crimes, including mass killing and subsequent mass burial of the dead, have happened and continue to occur.
In somewhat of a Darfur-redux, the Government of Sudan has issued its rebuttal to these documented allegations of crimes against humanity and war crimes, chalking the UN OHCHR’s report up as “biased and predicated on no evidence.” AI and HRW’s report seems to suggest that even after the OHCHR’s report was released, bombing campaigns continued against civilian areas in Southern Kordofan.
August has thus been a month of chilling reports of potential crimes against humanity and war crimes coming out Sudan, a country that is no stranger to attention for its record of protecting civilians from the outbreak of the four RtoP crimes. The story will no doubt continue to develop in the wake of the reports from AI and HRW, and we’ll be following it closely here and on Twitter.