Genocide in Darfur - Andrew David King

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Genocide in Darfur:

Genocide in Darfur An overview By Andrew D. King Holocaust Center of Northern California

What is genocide?:

What is genocide?


“Genocide” Definitions: Merriam-Webster: the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group Oxford American Dictionary: the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation

Raphael Lemkin:

Raphael Lemkin Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin coined the word "genocide" in 1943 as part of his analysis of German occupation policies in Europe. Lemkin uses the word genocide broadly, not only to describe policies of outright extermination against Jews and Gypsies, but for less immediate Nazi goals as well. This usage is especially important to understand the genocide occurring in Darfur today .

An accepted definition:

An accepted definition After the Holocaust, Lemkin pushed for international laws regarding genocide. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1948.

The United Nations’ definition:

The United Nations’ definition In the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide , Article II, genocide is defined as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such…

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(a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

The situation in Darfur:

The situation in Darfur


Sudan Sudan, Africa’s largest country, has been in near constant conflict since it became independent from British colonial rule in 1956. Khartoum is the capital of the Arab-led Sudanese government, based in central Sudan.


Darfur Darfur (“home of the Fur ”) is the furthest western sector of Sudan, bordering Libya, the Central African Republic, and Chad, to which many refugees have relocated. Darfur is divided into three regions: North, South, and West. It is the home of many tribes, primarily the Fur , Zaghawa and Masalit tribes, who make their living agriculturally through the cultivation of millet.

Darfur through the years:

Darfur through the years According to the Genocide Intervention Network, for more than three centuries leading up to the early 1900s, Darfur was an independent sultanate where native peoples and Arabs coexisted peacefully. When Darfur was reintegrated into the “Republic of Sudan” in 1917 by the British, the power shifted to a small group of elite tribes far to the East of Sudan.

Leading up to the crisis:

Leading up to the crisis These elite power groups have consistently marginalized the Darfur region and have failed to provide resources for the area’s development. Due to the importation of arms from Chad and Libya, which border Darfur, the area has been caught in the middle of many of the country’s civil wars between northern and southern Sudan.

Sudan now:

Sudan now Sudan is divided by religion (70 percent Muslim, 25 percent animist and 5 percent Christian); ethnicity (African and Arab origin Sudanese); tribe; and economic activity (herders and farmers). In the Sudanese government, power still rests primarily with an elite Arab group based in the capital of Khartoum. Historically, regions outside of Khartoum, such as the South and Darfur, in the West, have been marginalized politically and economically. The country’s conflict stems from this exclusion.

The tipping point:

The tipping point In 2003, Sudan’s civil wars came to an apparent end with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in January 2003. However, Khartoum failed to acknowledge the damage done to Darfur. Frustrated with the history of Darfur’s marginalization, rebel groups launched an attack on a Sudanese government air force base in El Fasher (part of North Darfur) in February 2003.

The rebel groups:

The rebel groups The rebel forces are composed primarily of two groups: The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) The splinter group National Movement for Reconstruction/Reform and Development (NMRD) The Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLA)

What has occurred?:

What has occurred? Because of the conflict between the marginalized rebel groups and the government elite, since February 2003, the Sudanese government, through the employment of the Janjaweed , have, according to some estimates… killed more than 400,000 people displaced almost 2.5 million .

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They have done this through employing the Janjaweed militias and utilizing their own resources to conduct… Raids Murder Torture Aerial attacks (Antonov bombers) Rape Destruction of villages, property, and resources Geographic displacement


Warning The following images may be disturbing

Usage of rape:

Usage of rape Rape has been used by the Sudanese-employed Arab Janjaweed militias as a tool to dilute the bloodlines of the “inferior” native people. In the culture of many native tribes, victims of rape are often isolated from communities and have harder times finding husbands.

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In the article, “ ‘We Want to Make a Light Baby’ “ from the Washington Post (Emily Wax, June 2004), an international aid worker is quoted as saying: "These rapes are built on tribal tensions and orchestrated to create a dynamic where the African tribal groups are destroyed. It's hard to believe that they tell them they want to make Arab babies, but it's true. It's systematic, and these cases are what made me believe that it is part of ethnic cleansing and that they are doing it in a massive way .”

Who are the Janjaweed?:

Who are the Janjaweed? The Janjaweed (literally translated as “devil on horseback”) are the government-sponsored Arab militias responsible for the rape, murder, and displacement of members of the Fur, Masalit , and Zaghawa tribes.

Who is behind the Janjaweed?:

Who is behind the Janjaweed? Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan since 1993 and current President today, was accused in July 2008 by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Darfur.

Incident with Condoleezza Rice:

Incident with Condoleezza Rice In 2005, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice traveled to Khartoum to plead with Omar al-Bashir to stop the killing. The morning she arrived, a report was published indicating that al-Bashir was still paying the Janjaweed to assault the people of Darfur. Omar al-Bashir’s guards beat up some members of her staff and accompanying reporters. Later, when a reporter asked al-Bashir about the report, she was forcibly removed.

The ICC’s ruling:

The ICC’s ruling On March 4, 2009 , the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir, indicting him on counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. However, they ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him for genocide .

Omar al-Bashir at large:

Omar al-Bashir at large Despite his outstanding warrant, no country which al-Bashir has visited has yet to arrest him. These countries include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Libya, Egypt and Eritrea (all dominated by heavily Arab governments).

Power struggle in Khartoum:

Power struggle in Khartoum A political battle between Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and radical Islamic cleric Hassan al-Turabi also contributes to the background of the conflict. Hassan al-Turabi has long been one of al-Bashir's main political rivals and an influential figure in Sudan. Some of his top former students are leaders of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

United States’ response:

United States’ response In February 2006, President George W. Bush called for doubling the number of international troops in the war-ravaged Darfur region of Sudan and a bigger role for NATO in the peacekeeping effort, recognizing the situation in Darfur as genocide . In 2004, former United States Secretary of State Colin Powell referred to the conflict as a genocide. The United States has provided more than $1 billion in humanitarian assistance to the people of Sudan.

International community’s response:

International community’s response In a letter about the Darfur crisis in 2006, British Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote: “We should strongly call upon government of Sudan and non-signatories alike to stop immediately the violence in northern Darfur.”

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French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy , in September 2006, condemned the situation in Darfur on public radio and stated: "France is taking steps to stop the genocide as fast as possible…”

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Amnesty International, although supportive of international action regarding the humanitarian issues surrounding Darfur, avoids the use of the term genocide. The following groups and individuals have used the term genocide to describe the situation in Darfur. International Association of Genocide Scholars (2004) Committee on Conscience of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (2004) The United States Congress (2004) In 2006, President Bush signed the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act into law. The act restated the findings of genocide in Darfur.

United Nations’ response:

United Nations’ response In January 2005, an International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, authorized by the UN Security Council’s Resolution 1564 of 2004, issued a report to the Secretary-General stating that "the Government of the Sudan has not pursued a policy of genocide .” The UN Security Council has been repeatedly criticized for its failure to act directly against the crimes being committed in Darfur. It is speculated that the reason for this is the economic ties to Darfur which several Security Council members have.

African Union:

African Union In response to the ongoing Darfur conflict in Sudan, the AU has deployed 7,000 peacekeepers to Darfur. In July 2006, the AU said it would pull out at the end of September when its mandate expires. Critics have said these forces are largely ineffective due to lack of funds, personnel, and expertise.


UNAMID A joint African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation of more than 26,000 personnel in Darfur was authorized by UN Security Council resolution 1769 on July 2007. UNAMID formally began operations in December 2007 and is now the largest peacekeeping force still present in Darfur. The peacekeepers are allowed to use force to protect civilians and humanitarian operations.

Against peacekeepers:

Against peacekeepers The Sudanese government has consistently resisted efforts to place peacekeepers in the Darfur region and has blocked some humanitarian aid. UN News Centre – March 18, 2009 – “Attacks on peacekeeping staff, carjacking, other banditry, and harassment of civilians continue to proliferate in Darfur, the African Union-United Nations mission in the strife-torn region of Sudan…”

China’s involvement:

China’s involvement China has been a major factor in sustaining the violence in Darfur with its economic investments in Sudanese oil. China’s top oil company, CNPC, agree to co-develop a new Sudanese oil field in July 2007. Human Rights First claimed that over 90% of the light weapons currently being imported by Sudan and used in the conflict are from China. However, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in 2003–2007, Sudan received 87% of its major conventional weapons from Russia and 8% from China.

What’s happening now?:

What’s happening now? In February 2009, the rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) planned a ceasefire with the Sudan government within the next three months. In early May 2009, the Mandate Darfur conference will be held in Ethiopia. The conference will attempt to establish a mandate that sets out exactly what the people of Darfur want.

‘Sudan sentences another 11 Darfur rebels to death’:

‘Sudan sentences another 11 Darfur rebels to death’ April 25, 2009 KHARTOUM (AFP) — “A Sudanese court sentenced another 11 Darfur rebels to death on Sunday for a 2008 attack on Khartoum, raising to 82 the number of Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) fighters ordered hanged for the raid…” “Judge Hafez Ahmed found the JEM fighters guilty of terrorism and illegal possession of weapons during the unprecedented attack on the capital's twin city of Omdurman in May 2008.”

Newspaper coverage:

Newspaper coverage 'Never again' — again 3/1/2005 By Don Cheadle and John Prendergast Arab leaders embrace criminal el-Bashir Joel Brinkley 4/12/2009

Film coverage:

Film coverage

What can I do about it?:

What can I do about it? According to Human Rights Watch, you can do several things: Inform yourself about the genocide occurring in Darfur by accessing resources provided by Human Rights Watch and other agencies. Write to your local newspaper or news station and request more coverage on Darfur. Hold a video screening or share information about the Darfur genocide with your friends and family. Contact members of the American government and/or the United Nations.

Some activism agencies:

Some activism agencies Save Darfur Genocide Intervention Network STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition

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“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana , American philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist

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