ICC NOTE: Two ideas to remember when reading this article. One: The Janjaweed is carrying out a systematic campaign to destroy a specific population in Western Sudan , it is not a random series of violent events. It is planned and coordinated from Kharotoum.
Two: De ep in Sudan s central government is the National Islamic Front, which is not only aiding the genocide in the West, but also supports the Lords Resistance Army a destabilizing force in the South.
DARFUR Assault on Survival
A Call for Security, Justice, and Restitution
>From Physicians for Human Rights (Boston/Washington)
For the full article go to: http://www.phrusa.org/research/sudan/news_2006-01-11.html
JANUARY 11, 2006
For over two years, the Government of Sudan (GOS) and their ruthless proxy militias, the Janjaweed, have carried out a systematic campaign of destruction against specific population groups, their way of life and all that sustains them. This report tells the story of Darfurian lives and livelihoods obliterated in three of the thousands of villages literally wiped off the map by the genocidal killers who also pillaged, plundered, and pursued men, women and children in an all-out assault on the very survival of a population. By delving deeply into the experiences and accounts of eyewitnesses from the villages of Furawiya, Terbeba and Bendisi, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is adding to the mounting evidence of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide perpetrated against non-Arab civilians in Darfur.
Other studies of the atrocities committed in Darfur since early 2003 have focused primarily, and with good reason, on killings, rape and other acts of violence inflicted during the attacks. To complement and expand upon those findings, PHR has paid particular attention to the intense destruction of land holdings, communities, families, as well as the disruption of all means of sustaining livelihoods and procuring basic necessities. By eliminating access to food, water and medicine, expelling people into inhospitable terrain and then, in many cases, blocking crucial outside assistance, the GOS and the Janjaweed have created conditions calculated to destroy the non-Arab people of Darfur in contravention of the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” (hereafter referred to as the Genocide Convention).
And now, on top of the death and the terror that has been inflicted on them, the majority of those who have survived have been stripped of everything they had, from land to livestock to the very social structures that bound them together.
During three trips to the region—in May 2004, and January and July 2005—investigators for PHR collected first-hand testimony from dozens of survivors of the attacks on three villages and surrounding areas with a total population of 30,000 to 40,000 inhabitants. The three were chosen to represent the ethnic and geographical diversity of Darfur itself. Furawiya, in north Darfur , was a village with a population drawn from the Zaghawa, one of the three main non-Arab tribes in the region. Terbeba, a Masalit village, and Bendisi, a Fur village, were both located in the state of west Darfur, the latter right next to the border with Chad and the former much deeper within Sudan . Survivors of all three villages were interviewed in Chad by PHR. Heads of households were selected at random from among those who had managed to reach the refugee camps. By compiling facts, figures and detailed accounts from each of the villages, PHR developed a composite picture of massive destruction. The numerical data, while stark and compelling, is included to amplify and augment our qualitative findings and should not be taken as representative of larger populations.
>From these interviews, PHR has concluded that the GOS forces and the
Janjaweed engaged in the systematic, intentional and widespread destruction of a time-honored way of life, in which close cooperation and interdependent relationships among village residents were a critical means of survival.
Though Furawiya, Terbeba and Bendisi were far from one another and attacked at different times, eyewitness accounts of the assaults were strikingly similar. The Janjaweed swept into the village early in the morning, usually around 6 a.m., on camels and horses and on foot. In Bendisi and Terbeba, 20 out of 34 respondents reported that the attackers yelled racial epithets, such as “Exterminate the Nuba!” [a racially derogatory term]. Government troops often followed close behind; 44% of respondents in Bendisi and Terbeba reported GOS troops in vehicles mounted with rocket launchers entering after the Janjaweed, and many respondents in all three villages reported aerial bombing of villages by GOS Antonov airplanes and helicopters. The GOS and Janjaweed shot indiscriminately, set compounds and public buildings on fire, looted homes and shops in the market, and drove survivors out of the villages, in many cases scattering families. Prior to the attacks, the 46 men and women PHR interviewed had a total of 558 people in their households. Of these, 141 were “confirmed dead”—their deaths were witnessed or their bodies found—while 251 were “killed or missing”—meaning their whereabouts were unknown. The average household size [defined as “people who eat out of the same pot”] before the attacks was 12.1; after it was 6.7.
The great majority of people PHR interviewed reported the complete loss of their livestock, farmland, homes, and all possessions except the clothing they were wearing when they fled. They reported that the GOS and Janjaweed forces either stole or killed thousands of camels, horses, cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats and chickens. They also reported the collective loss of thousands of sacks of sorghum, millet, ground nuts and other food stocks; the torching of scores of acres of prime farmland; the burning of their compounds to the ground; and the looting and theft of rugs, beds, Korans, mats, personal documents and household items.
The Janjaweed chased the Darfurians into the harsh desert, aware that this would potentially lead to death. One woman said she overheard one attacker say to another: “Don’t bother, don’t waste the bullet, they’ve got nothing to eat and they’ll die from hunger.” Many survivors wandered through the bleak landscape for weeks or months, often with infants or elderly parents in tow. They escaped death by eating wild foods growing in the desert and eventually found their way to refugee camps in Chad , where humanitarian groups established refugee camps providing basic services. Others weren’t so lucky; PHR found that many households experienced a substantial drop in size due to death and separation while making their way to Chad .
Millions of Darfurians are living in squalid conditions in Internally Displaced Persons camps in Darfur with little assistance from the Sudanese authorities, and under security conditions that render the delivery of international assistance impossible. Another 200,000 are still living in Chad , the majority in refugee camps not far from the border. Although life as a refugee in Chad is almost certainly better than that of their compatriots inside Sudan , these people remain bereft by loss and yearning to go home and increasingly subject to insecurity largely due to competition for scarce resources in an economically and politically fragile Chad . One of these refugees, a 33-year-old mother from Furawiya told PHR investigators her story:
“After traveling for five days on foot, we finally arrived at the border.
Thousands of people were scattered along the river bed trying to find shelter. We lived off berries and a little food supplied by the international organizations. They also gave us blue tarps for protection from the wind and the sand, but they didn’t work. There was a well in the wadi, but we had to share it with people from the town [Bahay] and animals too. Sometimes, I would have to wait in line all day just for one bucket of water. After two months my donkey died from not having enough food. And then my youngest child, a three- year-old girl, got sick. There were no medicines to help her. She died about a month before they moved us to the camp.”
Many previous reports on Darfur present ample evidence of genocide under Articles II(a) and (b) of the Genocide Convention, which defines the crime as the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, religious, or racial group, by (a) “killing members” of that group and (b) by “causing serious bodily or mental harm” to members of the group. PHR’s findings bolster these past claims and also illuminate Article II(c), a critical but often overlooked clause of the Genocide Convention, which defines genocide as including the deliberate infliction on a group of “conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or part.” This clause ensures that genocide encompasses situations in which the perpetrators do not seek to kill all members of a group immediately but instead intentionally subject them to such harsh circumstances that death would be virtually assured without outside intervention and aid. Under international law, the fact that most of those forced from their homes did not die does not mitigate the responsibility of the GOS and Janjaweed forces for their genocidal actions.