SUdan: Another war criminal in power
Human rights organization demands militia chief to be removed from office (Press Release)
The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) accuses the Deputy Chairman of the new transitional government in Sudan of war crimes, demanding him to be removed from office. "General Mohamed Hamdan, who is also known as Hemeti, is guilty of abductions, torture, rape, and the killing of civilians – and his infamous Militia Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are responsible for the destruction of entire villages. With Hemeti, there will be no credible fresh start in Sudan," warned Ulrich Delius, the STP's director, in Göttingen on Sunday. The general had been appointed Deputy Chairman of the new military council in the East African country on Saturday.
It was only in November of 2018 that refugee organizations from the civil war region of Darfur had demanded investigations against Hemeti, because of war crimes and crimes against humanity. "Hemeti was dictator Bashir's man for dirty jobs," said Delius. As the nephew of an influential clan chief in eastern Darfur, he was an important commander of the infamous Janjaweed militias, which are responsible for the destruction of more than 5,000 villages and for the violent eviction of more than 2.5 million people since 2003. In television interviews, he bragged that his orders came directly from President Bashir. Most of the RSF fighters were recruited from the ranks of the Janjaweed, who are responsible for the genocide crimes in Darfur (2003-2019).
The paramilitary RSF militia was officially founded and acknowledged in 2013, when it was entrusted with tasks such as guarding the borders. Thus, the RSF was supposed to ensure that refugees on their way to Europe could no longer travel through the northwest of Sudan or cross the border with Libya. The SRF had arrested hundreds of refugees and handed them over to the authorities, who then deported them back to their home countries without regard to whether they might be persecuted there. The RSF is officially assigned to the National Intelligence Agency NISS, but is now also considered an independent part of the security forces in Sudan. It is regularly used in counterinsurgency measures in Darfur, the Blue Nile, and the Nuba Mountains. "The RSF fighters are notorious for their brutality and ruthlessness towards the civilian population. Most of their missions leave a trail of blood and devastation," Delius stated.
Bashir trusted the RSF more than the Sudanese army. Thus, he also used the RSF fighters in crackdowns on the protests in the capital Khartoum, in which at least 170 people got killed in September 2013 – and the RSF are also responsible for ruthless attacks against protesters and for arbitrary arrests in the course of the protests since December 2018.
Header Image: UNAMID via Flickr.