Sudan: year on since protests broke out, protesters' demands must be met
One year after protests broke out in Sudan leading to the ouster President Omar al Bashir on 11 April 2019, the new transitional authorities must to live up to the hopes and expectations of the Sudanese people, Amnesty International said today.
Between December 2018 and 11 April 2019, at least 77 protestors were killed, and hundreds injured across Sudan by security forces. On 3 June, the security forces, notably the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), brutally dispersed the massive sit-in in Khartoum with live ammunition and teargas, killing more than 100 people and injuring at least 700 others.
The Sudanese people’s hopes now lie squarely with the transitional authorities headed by Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, and backed by the Transitional Constitutional Charter, which enshrines the country’s most comprehensive Bill of Rights yet.
Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, said:
“The transitional authorities must honour the commitments they made to restore the rule of law and protect human rights. The Sudanese people deserve nothing less.
“The responsibility on Prime Minister Hamdok’s shoulders is as large as the aspirations of the Sudanese people who suffered decades of serious human rights violations, and crimes under international law including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
“The new Sudan authorities must ensure that members of the security forces who committed horrific crimes or used excessive force against protestors are held accountable in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty.
“The victims have the right to truth, justice and reparations under international law.”
In a positive step, the government repealed the public order laws in November and brought an end to the era of violations particularly targeting women’s rights and freedoms.
Perpetrators of crimes must be held to account
The government must proactively address accountability for these crimes by among other things, rebuilding the credibility and capacity of the justice system to thoroughly and effectively investigate and prosecute the crimes.
Out of 185 people killed during anti-government protests in September 2013, Sudan’s prosecution office has only investigated and tried one case to date. In this single case, the accused was eventually acquitted for lack of sufficient evidence
The government is also required under international law to transfer Omar al Bashir to the International Criminal Court, in compliance with arrest warrants pending against him for crimes committed in Darfur between 2003 and 2010.
While the recent appointment of a new Attorney General and Chief Justice offers hope that accountability will be a priority for the transitional authorities, successful prosecution of those found responsible for grave human rights violations would greatly bolster confidence in the national judicial system.