Sudan: IBAHRI condemns the killing of lawyers, calls for their protection and an end to the conflict
The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) condemns the recent attacks against lawyers and legal professionals in Sudan amid the ongoing armed conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Furthermore, the IBAHRI calls for the belligerent parties to ensure the protection of legal professionals and civilians and to end all hostilities in the country where thousands of civilians have been killed and tens of thousands more injured since the start of violence.
On 19 June 2023, the Darfur Bar Association reported the killing of Al-Sadiq Muhammad Ahmed Haroun, the commissioner of humanitarian aid in West Darfur, and lawyer Tariq Hassan Yaqoub Al-Malik, a founding member of the Darfur Bar Association, during armed confrontations in the city of El Geneina, West Darfur.
According to the Darfur Bar Association, both men had repeatedly received death threats in the days leading up to their deaths. Mr Al-Malik had led the prosecution of juvenile crimes committed during the Krinding Camp Massacre, while Mr Haroun was a member of the indictment board prosecuting both the Krinding Camp Massacre and the attack on Misteri village where many other people were also killed.
The Darfur Bar Association had recently reported that Abdel-Khalig Ibrahim Arbab, a lawyer prosecuting violations committed against internally displaced persons in Darfur and who provided legal aid to victims of human rights violations, had been killed together with eight members of his family. The Darfur Bar Association also recently reported the deaths of Khamis Arbab Ishaq, a legal aid coordinator in El Geneina, and lawyer Mohamed Ahmed Kodi, who it is said was burned to death inside his home in the same city.
The Democratic Front for Sudanese Lawyers (DFSL) also reported the death of two lawyers Sarah Adel Sanada and Muhammad Bashir Abdel Qader in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, as a result of armed confrontations between the SAF and RSF. The deaths of two other lawyers in Khartoum, Ali Hussein and Azhari Othman Babiker, have further been reported following looting and the destruction of eight judicial facilities in the city.
IBAHRI Co-Chair and Immediate Past Secretary General of the Swedish Bar Association, Anne Ramberg Dr Jur hc commented: ‘These extra-judicial killings and threats made against Sudanese lawyers show a coordinated and intentional targeting of the legal profession due to the role played in pursuing accountability. Human rights defenders should be protected to ensure justice is served. There appears a systematic pattern of attempts to evade responsibility by the warring factions. The international community must urgently better respond to the crisis to avoid the potential of another genocide like that of 20 years ago in Darfur, where those suspected of war crimes were not held accountable. This impunity can be seen as a contributory factor to the current violence in Sudan. Furthermore, the IBAHRI again 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 IBAHRI is concerned about the situation in West Darfur, where ongoing fighting between the belligerent parties has rekindled intercommunal violence in El Geneina. On 15 June 2023, West Darfur state governor Khamis Abakar was killed after accusing paramilitary fighters of mass killing civilians and calling for international intervention.
Reports indicate 5,000 civilians have been killed in West Darfur alone, with 8,000 injured, a disproportionate number that points to a pattern of apparent ethnic cleansing that could amount to crimes against humanity.
IBAHRI Co-Chair, Mark Stephens CBE commented: ‘This current conflict caused by the two warring generals, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohammed “Hemedti” Dagalo of the SAF and RSF, respectively, is placing untenable amounts of pressure on neighbouring countries that are receiving Sudan’s desperate civilians fleeing bloodshed. There is a serious risk that the conflict will destabilise the entire region, and beyond, particularly given the oft-reported links of Russia’s Wagner Group’s gold smuggling operations involving Sudan which are designed both to subvert international sanctions against Russia and provide significant funding of the war lords' Sudanese conflict. Undoubtedly, with both generals' track records of allegedly having been key figures in the Darfur genocide in 2003, the human rights of Sudan’s citizens, as well as international law, are again being violated, particularly in populated urban areas. The IBAHRI continues to condemn the violence that has wreaked havoc in Sudan since 15 April 2023 and calls for a meaningful UN intervention which should halt the human rights abuses and put a stop to the Wagner gold smuggling breaches of sanctions and commence planning for a return to the democratic transition towards a civilian government.’
For further information/interview requests, please send an email to: IBAHRI@int-bar.org
Notes to the Editor
- Related material:
- Sudan crisis: IBAHRI condemns armed confrontations and urges belligerent parties to end all hostilities
- IBAHRI urges UK government to apply Magnitsky Sanctions against Sudan coup leaders
- IBAHRI calls on Sudan’s General al-Burhan to end security forces’ violence and for the international community to impose targeted sanctions
- The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), established in 1995 under Founding Honorary President Nelson Mandela, is an autonomous and financially independent entity, working to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.
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The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice.
The IBA acts as a connector, enabler, and influencer, for the administration of justice, fair practice, and accountability worldwide. The IBA has collaborated on a broad range of ground-breaking, international projects with the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, The Commonwealth, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, among others.
For further information, please contact: the IBA Human Rights Institute at IBAHRI@int-bar.org
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