Darfur Destroyed: Sudan's Perpetrators Break Silence

For Immediate Release

Darfur Destroyed: Sudan's Perpetrators Break Silence

Days ahead of a possible ICC arrest warrant for President Omar al Bashir, Khartoum's men speak out

NEW YORK - Shortly
the International Criminal Court will decide whether to issue an arrest
warrant for General Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan, on charges of
war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur. 

In a 20 minute film released on the brink of that decision, Khartoum's executioners have broken silence to reveal how Darfur's atrocities were planned, financed and carried out - and who was responsible.

To view the film visit www.vimeo.com/3161513

(Footage and audio available for broadcast. Contact David Brown, david.brown@aegistrust.org)

Since 2003, at least 300,000 civilians have died in Darfur
and millions have been displaced from their homes, many of them at the
hands of militia nicknamed the 'Janjaweed' ('devils on horseback').
Time after time, survivors stated - and international observers
confirmed - that as they murdered, raped, looted and burned village
after village, the Janjaweed was backed by the Sudanese army and air
force. Yet the Sudanese Government has consistently denied
responsibility for atrocities in Darfur and to this day, says it has nothing to do with the Janjaweed.

However, the defectors in this film - some of them speaking publicly for the first time -  tell a very different story.

Created by the Aegis Trust with the support of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (Egypt), Human Rights First (USA) and the Society for Threatened Peoples (Germany), the film features interviews conducted by researchers including Phil Cox (Native Voice Films) and Frank Dutton (former deputy head of investigations at the ICTY).

Between
them, a senior Army finance officer, a Janjaweed commander, a regular
soldier and a Janjaweed fighter explain why and how the Sudanese
Government created and launched the Janjaweed militia; how it disguised
the militia, once atrocities in Darfur came to world attention; how it
armed and paid the Janjaweed; how the Janjaweed worked with Sudan's
regular army and air force, and how rape has been used as a weapon
against the civilian population.

The
witnesses implicate Sudanese Government figures at the highest level -
including Ahmed Harun (Minister for Humanitarian Affairs), Ali Osman
Mohammed Taha (Second Vice President), and even Omar al-Bashir himself.

Moataz El Fegiery, Executive Director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) states: "If
you don't believe the victims, or if you mistrust the UN, then you
should at least listen to the voices of the perpetrators.  In their own
words, they describe the Sudanese Government's role in killing its own
people." 

Dr
James Smith, Chief Executive of the Aegis Trust, states: "As one-time
servants of the Bashir regime, the defectors in this film provide
powerful evidence of the responsibility of the Sudanese Government for
mass atrocities in Darfur. As they
themselves have said: those responsible should be brought to account
and answer at the ICC - even if they include the President himself."

Nicolas
Burniat, Pennoyer Fellow at Human Rights First noted: "For too long,
the international community has allowed the government in Sudan to get away with murder in Darfur. To this very day, many countries continue to sell weapons to Khartoum, allowing the Sudanese army to keep sending fresh arms to Darfur,
as shown in Aegis Trust's film. Whether or not the ICC issues an arrest
warrant against Bashir, these countries must decide between pushing Sudan to face its responsibility to cooperate with the Court or continuing to support a suspected war criminal." 

The defectors in their own words

  • Popular
    Defence Force / Janjaweed commander:  "The Sudanese Government, all
    time he said, no genocide there, no rape there.  I am from the PDF -
    Janjaweed - I want to tell the World the truth."
  • Sudanese
    army paymaster:  "As a human being, I'm not able to feel good about
    this.  I am paying them and they're going to kill other people."
  • Popular
    Defence Force / Janjaweed commander: "The President of Sudan, Omar el
    Bashir, sent four billion Sudanese pounds for the Popular Defence Force
    in Nyala to be distributed as an incentive."
  • Popular
    Defence Force / Janjaweed commander:  "...when you destroy the wells,
    or when you cut the trees, or when you burn the village, this means you
    expel the civilians from the village.  This is an instruction from...It
    is came from Khartoum." 
  • Janjaweed
    fighter: "Rape can happen.  Rape can happen... What would happen is,
    they took the girls and the women away, just out of sight, and they
    started to rape them."
  • Sudanese
    soldier: "They shout 'Kill the slaves' and 'Fuck the slaves.' They take
    girls and rape them.   They rape and torture them.  They want the
    children to be different in colour, to be like them." 
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Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.

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