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Human Rights Watch: dispersal of Khartoum sit-in is war crime

Sudanese people march towards military headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan on 11 April 2019 [Stringer/Anadolu Agency]
Sudanese people march towards military headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan on 11 April 2019 [Stringer/Anadolu Agency]

Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a report, on Sunday, in which it pointed out that the massacre the Sudanese security services committed against demonstrators in Khartoum in June amounts to war crimes.

The report, entitled "They Were Shouting 'Kill Them': Sudan's Violent Crackdown on Protesters in Khartoum," showed that the Sudanese security forces' attack on unarmed protesters on 3 June was planned.

"The new Sudanese government must show that it is serious about holding accountable those responsible for the deadly attacks on protesters after decades of violent repression and atrocities against civilians. It should begin to bring justice against the brutal attacks on demonstrators since December 2018 and ensure that all investigations are independent, transparent and in line with international standards," said Jehanne Henry, Associate Director in HRW's Africa division.

In addition to analysing documents, videos and photos, HRW interviewed more than 60 people, including victims of several crimes like sexual violence, and witnesses of violations, the organisation said in a statement it issued after publishing the investigative report about what is known as "Khartoum Massacre."

Read: US: Sudan's removal from list of terrorism sponsors will take time

The organisation's reliable sources estimate that at least 120 people were killed on 3 June and the following days. Also, Hundreds were injured, and dozens were missing. Witnesses said they saw security forces throw dead bodies in the Nile River. At least two dead bodies were pulled from the river. They were tied to bricks, with gunshot wounds to the head and trunk.

Protests across the country started outside Khartoum in mid-December 2018 over rising prices but quickly evolved into demonstrations against Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir, who ruled the country for 30 years, as well as his administration. The protests reached a peak in a sit-in near the army headquarters in April that led to the overthrow of Al-Bashir on 11 April. A transitional military council has then taken over, led by Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan and his deputy, General Mohamed Hamdan (Hemetti) Dagalo, Commander of the Rapid Support Forces.

According to HRW, the transitional government should review its investigation committee, or create another committee with a single mandate to investigate and collect evidence about all the committed crimes since December 2018. The new committee will have the authority to refer cases to trial, based on international standards. The investigation should not hesitate to identify all those it finds responsible, including those at the highest government levels such as Hemetti and other military commanders who are members of the Sovereign Council and take steps to bring anyone identified to justice.


AfricaHRWInternational OrganisationsNewsSudan
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