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Comment on the report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to the United Nations Secretary-General

Byron, Christine 2005. Comment on the report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to the United Nations Secretary-General. Human Rights Law Review 5 (2) , pp. 351-360. 10.1093/hrlr/ngi020

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The crisis in Darfur, Sudan, which led to the establishment of the International Commission of Inquiry, began in late 2002 when two rebel movements, motivated by the socio-economic and political marginalisation of Darfur, began attacking police offices and government installations.1 The rebels are mainly drawn from the Fur, Massalit and Zaghawa tribes;2 sedentary African farmers, who have a history of clashes over land with the camel and cattle herding nomads of the Arab tribes.3 Having insufficient military resources to deal with the threat posed by the African rebels, the Government of Sudan called upon Arab nomadic tribes to assist in fighting them.4 Those Arabs who answered the Government call became known as the ‘Janjaweed’, ‘a traditional Darfurian term denoting an armed bandit or outlaw on a horse or camel’,5 a term which has become synonymous with a militia conducting attacks on civilians rather than rebels. They have killed thousands of civilians, destroyed hundreds of villages and caused the internal displacement of about two million people.6 The tribes particularly targeted by these attacks are the three aforementioned African tribes.7 In September 2004, the Security Council determined that the Government of Sudan had not fulfilled its commitments under an earlier resolution to disarm the Janjaweed and to bring those leaders responsible for atrocities to justice.8 The Council found that the situation in Sudan constituted a threat to international peace and security, and requested that the Secretary-General establish an International Commission of Inquiry (‘the Commission’) in order to ‘investigate reports of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law in Darfur by all parties, to determine also whether or not acts of genocide have occurred, and to identify the perpetrators of such violations with a view to ensuring that those responsible are held accountable’.9 The Secretary-General established the Commission under the Chairmanship of Professor Antonio Cassese and required it to report by 25 January 2005.10

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 1461-7781
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:13

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