Regime Gives Janjaweed Genocidaires New Name, Weapons, and a License to Kill
June 26, 2014 (Washington, DC) -- One decade after Darfur’s Janjaweed militiamen earned global infamy as “devils on horseback,” Sudan is experiencing a wave of atrocities at the hands of their new incarnation as an official military entity, the “Rapid Support Forces” (RSF). An original report published today by the Enough Project and the Satellite Sentinel Project tracks the RSF in a cross-country campaign of civilian targeting, and presents the case for the individual criminal responsibility of high-level Sudanese government officials for both the war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the RSF.
The report, “Janjaweed Reincarnate: Sudan’s New Army of War Criminals”—the product of nine months of research by co-authors Akshaya Kumar and Omer Ismail—tracks the RSF across Sudan, connects the regime’s own public statements with evidence from affected communities, and identifies an array of crimes from grave human rights abuses and mass atrocities to cross-border elephant poaching.
Click here for a preview of the report from the New York Times, including a response from the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, DC.
"In Sudan today, the genocidaires are winning,” says Akshaya Kumar, report co-author and Sudan and South Sudan Policy Analyst at the Enough Project. “A decade ago, Janjaweed fighters received international condemnation for their brutality in Darfur. While the world's attention has drifted, these men are still at large and committing human rights abuses. Now, as Sudan's Rapid Support Forces, they are heavily armed, in uniform, flying the national flag, and with an official license to kill.”
"Darfuris aren't the only victims now. Our research shows that these Rapid Support Forces, under command and control of the government, have inflicted brutal violence on civilians in South Kordofan, North Kordofan, even in Sudan's capital city Khartoum,” said Omer Ismail, co-author and Enough Project Senior Advisor. “As security service officers they boast full immunity. The RSF are indisputably an arm of this government and so senior government officials, including President Bashir, should bear responsibility for their actions."
"Our research fuses nine months of satellite imagery with extensive research and interviews to paint a vivid portrait of an increasingly brazen, resurgent and reinforced Janjaweed force,” said John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project. “What we see is a new kind of international and regional security threat, a military force that not only regularly commits atrocities and abuses against the citizenry, but up to their necks in transnational criminal activity, including cross-border human rights abuses, elephant poaching, and resource exploitation.”
“Sudan's government are so confident they will get away with this new campaign that they're not even bothering to hide their connections to these fighters,” added Kumar. “In fact, the Sudanese government proclaims their connection to this army of war criminals.”
For media inquiries or to schedule an interview with the report authors, please contact Christina DiPasquale at +1 202-716-1953 or Christina@fitzgibbonmedia.com.
The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more: www.enoughproject.org.
The Satellite Sentinel Project, co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, is a partnership between the Enough Project and Not On Our Watch. SSP uses satellite imagery and forensic investigation to assess the human security situation, and detect, deter and document war crimes and crimes against humanity. SSP recently announced an expansion of its work to focus on the economic drivers of mass atrocities and human rights abuses, and to encompass some of the world's most violent regions of conflict, including Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic. For more information on the Satellite Sentinel Project, please visit www.satsentinel.org.