Sudan: New report shows hundreds of thousands being denied justice

The report, Sudan: no one to complain to, describes how hundreds of thousands of people in Darfur are being denied justice and left without protection from killings, torture, rape and displacement. This sharply contrasts with the widespread impunity of those responsible for such human rights violations and the policy of incorporating them into state security forces.

Amnesty International also warned today that ongoing peace talks on Sudan must concentrate on immediate judicial reforms to protect the whole population if further conflict is to be avoided. The warning comes as talks on Darfur are due to reconvene next week in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, while the North-South peace talks in Naivasha, Kenya are entering their final month before an end-of-year deadline for agreement.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen:

'Under the pretext of armed conflict and the cover of a state of emergency, the Sudanese government has oppressed victims of human rights abuses and let the real perpetrators go free, both in the war in southern Sudan and Darfur.

'While Sudan’s killers and torturers are getting away scot-free, their victims are at fresh risk if they attempt to access what little of the justice system remains open to them.

'The international community must demand that fundamental human rights are fully protected in Sudanese law and ensure that the presence and mandate of international monitors looking into all human rights violations be reinforced.

'Peace mediators need to look beyond simple power-sharing and economic arrangements and address the legitimate demands for justice of millions of victims of gross human rights abuse.'

Amnesty International’s report documents numerous cases of arbitrary arrest and detention, death in custody, torture, unfair trials and harassment, including of people seeking justice for past human rights violations in Darfur

Testimonies featured in the report include the following from a man whose brother was extra-judicially executed by the armed forces:

'I reported the murder of my brother to the police but they told me to go and see the armed forces. So I went to the Security who told me to report to the armed forces. Both asked me to pay and I paid in total 35 million [Sudanese pounds]. Then, after someone contacted the army officer in Saraf Omra, I was arrested on 20 August 2003. The armed forces took me to a military camp outside Kabkabiya and beat me, tied my feet and arms and hung me up to a tree from the morning to the evening.'

Amnesty International sets out a series of recommendations to the Sudanese government including:

  • Repeal of laws that allow the security forces to keep people in prolonged incommunicado detention and gives them immunity for their actions
  • Abolition of laws which contravene international standards for fair trials including provisions which prevent the accused from withdrawing confessions and appealing against their conviction and sentencing
  • Introduction of measures to ensure that everyone has equal access to justice, the time to prepare their defence as well as free legal assistance if necessary
  • Immediate release for those detained solely for their peaceful beliefs and those that have been arbitrarily arrested
  • A clear public announcement from the government that torture or other ill-treatment will not be tolerated in any detention centre and will be prosecuted

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