Sudan crisis: IBAHRI condemns armed confrontation and urges belligerent sides to end all hostilities
Thursday 20 April 2023
Amid a fourth collapsed ceasefire in Sudan, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) condemns the armed confrontation between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) across the country, and the resulting harm being caused to civilians. The IBAHRI calls upon General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, commander-in-chief of the Sudanese Armed Forces and self-appointed Ruling Council leader, and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (‘Hemedti’), leader of the RSF and de-facto deputy leader of the Ruling Council, to end all hostilities immediately.
The gunfire and explosions in Khartoum that began on Saturday 15 April 2023 has thus far left almost 300 people dead and 2,600 people injured according to the World Health Organization, citing Sudan’s health ministry.
On this sixth consecutive day of violence, the IBAHRI condemns the destruction being wrought on civilians, which includes air strikes and the use of heavy artillery in populated urban areas; clear violations of international law and human rights.
On 11 April 2023 the warring factions were due to sign a Framework Agreement to restore Sudan’s civilian transition. Both parties, the Sudanese Armed Forces and the RSF, missed the deadline. Disagreements centred around the integration of the RSF into the armed forces and led to the armed confrontations currently engulfing the country.
IBAHRI Co-Chair and Immediate Past Secretary General of the Swedish Bar Association, Anne Ramberg Dr Jur hc, commented: ‘The IBAHRI calls on General al-Burhan and General Dagalo to end hostilities immediately in Khartoum and the rest of the country. This armed confrontation is a reckless move for power that severely undermines commitment to ensuring a civilian-led transition to democracy. The IBAHRI calls for the belligerent parties to ensure the protection of civilians and humanitarian workers, cease all hostilities and return to the democratic transition towards a civilian-led government. Furthermore, the IBAHRI reminds the Sudanese authorities of their obligations under international law to protect the right to life, enshrined under Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The blatant disregard for human life is unjustifiable with the lives of hundreds prematurely ended and hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians put at risk.’
Following reports of an assault against the European Union Ambassador in Sudan and an attack against a United States diplomatic convoy, the IBAHRI further reminds the Sudanese authorities of their obligations under Article 29 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 – to which Sudan is a party – to ensure the security of diplomatic staff and residences.
IBAHRI Co-Chair, Mark Stephens CBE, commented: ‘The IBAHRI also reminds the warring parties of their obligations under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 to protect those taking no active part in the hostilities. The Article also stresses the principles of proportionality and precaution to avoid further civilian casualties. With media reports stating high numbers of injured civilians unable to access medical treatment and hospitals being bombed it is clear that the safety and health of the citizens of Sudan are not paramount in the minds of those battling for control of the country. The IBAHRI urges both sides to return to their respective barracks and revert to diplomatic resolve to avoid a descent into civil war. Currently, civilians are paying the ultimate price with bodies lying in streets unburied. The IBAHRI applauds international community efforts to end the escalation of violence and to ensure justice and accountability’.