Sudan attacks in Darfur breach sanctions
04 March 2013, 16:11
New York - Sudan breached the UN sanctions by using warplanes and
rockets bought from Belarus and Russia in the Darfur conflict, according to UN
experts who have called for a tightened embargo.
With the war now a decade old, the UN sanctions report outlined
how the conflict has intensified with government air attacks on Darfur
villages, rebels opening military camps in neighbouring South Sudan and
intelligence agents torturing opposition students with acid.
The panel said it had "observed the use by the Sudanese
air force of a new weapons system, S-8 air-to-ground rockets" bought from
It had also seen Su-25 fighter jets bought from Belarus in
2008 and Mi-24 attack helicopters purchased from Russia after the 2005
sanctions were imposed at Darfur airports. The panel said it was investigating
the possible use of an Iranian armoured personnel carrier.
Sudan faces a barrage of international sanctions over its
military campaign in the western region which erupted in 2003 when indigenous
tribes launched an uprising against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government.
President Omar al-Bashir has been charged with genocide and
war crimes by the International Criminal Court. The UN Security Council first
imposed an arms embargo against Darfur, but not the rest of Sudan in 2004. This
was tightened in 2005.
The sanctions panel said Sudan has violated Security Council
resolution 1591 and breached sales accords by using arms purchased since 2005
and "by aerial bombardments and intimidating flights inside Darfur."
The government said the aircraft were to guard troop convoys
and called the allegations of air strikes on civilians "simply propaganda
by opposition groups and their supporters."
The panel said there were "numerous sites of both
verified and unverified aerial bombardments" in the Jebel Marra region of
"These strikes last a few hours, but continue for
between one and three days, and are later followed by troops of men in khaki
uniforms in trucks and on horses or camels, who enter villages and commit
violations of international humanitarian law," said the report.
UN experts said the Security Council should force countries
which sell arms to Khartoum to install an "electronic tracking
system" to make sure they are not used in Darfur. The exporters should be
required to carry out a "physical verification" of the use of the
warplanes and weapons.
The panel complained that its experts had been the target of
three "regrettable incidents" last year.
Four experts were detained by Sudan's National Intelligence
and Security Service (NISS) at Nyala in south Darfur in August and questioned
about their mission.
In September, a sanctions arms expert was with a UN
peacekeeping patrol which was "the target of multiple low-level passes
carried out by two attack helicopters" in north Darfur. The government
said it was unaware of the expert's presence in the patrol.
Sudan barred and deported a UN sanctions finance expert in
December even though he had a visa.
Nine UN peacekeepers were killed in ambushes last year and
no arrests have been made.
Arrests and detentions
The panel highlighted cases of "torture" and
"ill treatment" by the NISS and said the feared body "continued
to operate with impunity in Darfur."
"Arbitrary arrests and detentions remain widespread in
Darfur, mainly perpetrated by NISS," said the report.
The experts said they had documented 15 cases of NISS
torture of detainees between September and December.
"Practices such as stripping detainees, dipping them in
sewage and whipping them were described to the panel," said the report.
Other detainees had "their hands bound and were hung from windows for
three to five hours".
In Nyala, two detainees "were badly whipped and had
battery acid thrown on their arms," according to the document.
In another sign of the intensifying war, the panel said
opposition rebels now have 107-mm multiple-launch rocket systems. It also said
there was "clear" evidence that the opposition Justice and Equality
Movement had a base for 800 fighters in South Sudan.