New International Mechanism Will at Last Investigate Human Rights Violations in Sudan 

The UN Human Rights Council has adopted a landmark resolution establishing an independent international fact-finding mission  for Sudan. This follows a call from 120 Sudanese and international CSOs, including REDRESS, that an independent mechanism was urgently needed to undertake a thoroughly investigation into serious human rights and humanitarian law violations committed during the ongoing conflict. 

Since an armed conflict erupted in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces on 15 April 2023, both forces have acted with total disregard for international humanitarian law and have been regularly implicated in widespread serious human rights violations against civilians.  

As highlighted in a REDRESS’ recent report, “Ruining a Country, Devastating its People”, there is now a large (and evolving) body of evidence implicating both sides in possible war crimes and crimes against humanity, and credible accounts of conduct perpetrated by the Rapid Support Forces and allied militias in Darfur that could possibly amount to genocide. 

The report highlighted how the heart of the armed conflict lies in the historic impunity for international crimes in Sudan. To finally address this, REDRESS recommended that States prioritise the establishment of an independent investigative mechanism by the UN Human Rights Council and the urgent provision of substantial material support to Sudanese documentation organisations. 

REDRESS briefed State delegations and the UN Independent Expert on Sudan attending the 54th session of the UN Human Rights Council on the need for coordinated and decisive action by the Council at this critical juncture. 

The Independent International Fact-Finding Mission (which is expected to start its work imminently) will be comprised of three experts in international human rights and humanitarian law who will be appointed for an initial term of one year with a mandate to: 

  • investigate the facts, circumstances and root causes of all alleged violations committed by all warring parties in the context of the ongoing armed conflict; 
  • collect, consolidate, analyse, and verify evidence of such violations, including systematically recording and preserving information, documentation, and evidence, consistent with international best practices in preparation of any future legal proceedings;
  • identify those responsible for violations and make recommendations on accountability measures to end impunity and address its root causes. Ensuring accountability will include individual criminal responsibility and access to justice for victims. 

 Caitlan Lloyd, REDRESS Legal Officer on Sudan, said: 

“As we near six months of deadly armed conflict in Sudan, and with evidence of international crimes mounting daily, the establishment of an international mechanism to investigate human rights violations on Sudan will at last begin to address the pervasive culture of impunity that has long empowered Sudan’s military and security actors to commit atrocities. We now hope that it will act fast, or significant evidence may be lost.”

Photo by Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah.