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The case consolidates complaints submitted by the Sudan Human Rights Organisation (London), the Sudan Human Rights Organisation (Canada), the Darfur Diaspora Association, the Sudanese Women Union in Canada and the Massaleit Diaspora Association (the SHRO case), and by the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (the COHRE case). Both complaints alleged gross and systematic violations of human rights by the Republic of Sudan committed in the Darfur region since 2003.
According to complainants in the SHRO case, following the emergence of an armed conflict in the Darfur region since 2003, populations of Black African origin (the Fur, Massaleit and Zaggawa tribes) were subjected to ‘large-scale killings, the forced displacement of populations, the destruction of public facilities, properties and disruption of life through bombing by military fighter jets in densely populated areas’. (§3)
Complainants in the COHRE case further alleged that Sudan was involved in the recruitment, arming, and sponsoring of the Janjaweed militia, which conducted attacks against the civilian population and raided and bombed villages, markets, and water wells using helicopter gunships and Antonov airplanes. (§13) According to the complainants, the residents of hundreds of villages were forcibly evicted, their homes and other structures burned and destroyed, thousands of civilians in Darfur were killed ‘in deliberate and indiscriminate attacks’, and more than a million people were displaced. (§14)
On the merits, Sudan submitted that the complaints were adequately addressed through a range of other procedures, including the Darfur Peace Agreement of 5 May 2006 and specialized mechanisms for compensating war victims and assessing humanitarian needs. It neither contested nor accepted that it bore responsibility for the alleged violations.
The Commission recognized that the Darfur Region was ‘engulfed in armed conflict' and that there had been 'widespread violence resulting in serious human rights violations’ at the time. It recalled that it was the duty and responsibility of Sudan ‘to establish conditions, as well as provide the means, to ensure the protection of both life and property, during peace time and in times of disturbances and armed conflicts’ and ‘to ensure that persons who are in harm’s way, as it seems the victims were, are resettled in safety and with dignity in another part of the country’. (§201)
The Commission found Sudan in violation of Articles 1 (give effect to the rights enshrined in the Charter), 4 (right to life), 5 (prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment), 6 (right to personal liberty and protection from arbitrary arrest), 7(1) (right to have ones cause heard), 12(1) and (2) (freedom of movement and residence), 14 (right to property), 16 (right to health), 18(1) (protection of the family), and 22 (right to economic, social and cultural development) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. (§228)
According to the complainants in this case, attacks against the civilian population were carried out, inter alia, by way of bombardment of villages, markets, and water wells by helicopter gunships and Antonov airplanes. (§13) Complainants argued that ‘bombing by military fighter jets in densely populated areas’ resulted in the ‘forced displacement of populations, the destruction of public facilities, properties and disruption of life’. (§3) The ‘constant bombing’ also contributed to ‘generalised fear’ among the population. (§182)
Although the Commission did not differentiate among weapons, means and methods of warfare allegedly used, it mentioned bombardment and its typical consequences explicitly in relation to several rights protected under the African Charter:
Last updated on: 09 February 2015