A Darfur conflict survivor moves past temporary shelters near Sudan-Chad border. [Zohra Bensemra/Reuters]
Since mid-April 2023, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemedti), and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) commanded by General Abdel-Fattah Burhan have been locked in a murderous power struggle, causing thousands of deaths and displacing over four million people.
RSF and the SAF combatants have fired indiscriminately in heavily populated civilian areas of Khartoum, killing at least 9,000 civilians. Combatants have systematically looted and destroyed towns in war-torn areas.
As of October 2023, the conflict has claimed the lives of at least 435 children and injured more than 2,000. Malnutrition and disease have claimed the lives of more than 1,200 children. Both the RSF and the SAF have committed sexual and gender-based violence. Since April, the number of rape cases reported have risen to 136. RSF have been identified as a repeat perpetrator of these attacks. Sudan's Unit for Combating Violence Against Women suggests that the total number of cases could be as high as 4,400.
More than 1,000 people have been killed by the RSF, whose remains were found in mass graves in El-Geneina. Those buried in the mass grave were of the Masalit ethnic group, a non-Arab group that is frequently the target of Arab militias backed by the RSF. According to Human Rights Watch, the RSF executed 28 Masalit young men in Misterei. Such discoveries reveal ethnically motivated violence by the state against non-Arab ethnic groups. These massacres constitute genocide.
Sudan flagrantly violates the Genocide Convention, the Torture Convention and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Both the RSF and the SAF have violated common Article 3 of the four Geneva Conventions of 1949. The warring parties deliberately attack civilians, loot and destroy civilian towns, hospitals, and churches, and engage in mass rape.
The SAF and the RSF have disregarded fundamental tenets of international humanitarian law by deliberately targeting non-combatants. They make no distinctions between military and civilian targets. These are war crimes.
The distribution of vital humanitarian aid has been severely hampered by attacks on warehouses, hospitals, and over 50 healthcare centers which have been forced to close. The warring parties have obstructed delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need, a transgression of international humanitarian law.
Genocide Watch recommends:
The U.N. Security Council should apply the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) Principles and authorize a U.N. Peacekeeping Force with a mandate to stop attacks against civilians by the RSF and SAF.
Both Hemedti and Burhan should be charged and tried for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide at the International Criminal Court.
The RSF must be defeated and disbanded, and be replaced by a disciplined, multiethnic security force with international oversight and accountability.
Omar Al-Bashir must be extradited to the ICC to face charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.