Written information submitted to the group of experts on Darfur on 21 August 2007
On 3 May 2007, a Nyala court sentenced defendants Abd al Rahman Zakariya and Ahmad Abdullah Sulayman to death for murder and robbery. The appeal court overturned the death sentences on 10 June 2007, because the two defendants were less than 18 years of age when they committed the crime. It ordered that they be placed in a reformatory.
At a regular session held on 20 March 2006, the Azhari Criminal Court, which was hearing the Suba case involving an attack upon a police station and the killing of 16 policemen, referred three of the defendants, who were minors, to a juvenile court and discontinued trial proceedings.
The Dukkah General Criminal Court in Qadarif, in eastern Sudan, convicted a woman called Fatimah Adam Yahya and sentenced her to death under Article 130 (premeditated murder). Since there were legal documents to prove that the woman was a minor, the Advisory Council wrote to the Department of Legal Assistance to submit an appeal to the Constitutional Court to annul the sentence.
The Damazin General Criminal Court convicted a man called Najm al Din Qasim al Sayyid and sentenced him to death under article 130 (premeditated murder). Counsel for Mr. Al Sayyid appealed the verdict on the grounds that his client was less than 18 years of age when he had committed the crime. The appeal court ordered a medical examination to determine what age the convicted man was when the offence was committed. The results of the examination supported the verdict of guilt and the sentence and a higher court also upheld them. Counsel for the convicted man appealed to the Constitutional Court, which was still hearing the case. Three of the five judges have delivered their opinion in writing.
A workshop on juvenile justice was held on 26 27 June 2007 in cooperation with Children’s Rights Monitor and the United Nations Gender Unit. The workshop was designed for judges and prosecutors and 50 participants were given training.
The Government reported that several laws protected children, namely:
1. the Child Act 2004, Article 33 prohibits the recruit or use of children in armed conflict.
2. the 1960 Regulation of the Armed Forces provided in article (12) that 18 years is the minimum age for recruitment.
3. the Armed Forces Bill 2007 “before the parliament’’ provided the same as in article (14).
4. Sudan is a party to the Child Rights Convention CRC of 1994 and to the Protocol on the Involvement of Children in armed conflicts. In accordance with Article 27 (3) of the Interim Constitution 2007 international human rights instruments to which Sudan is a party are integral part of the national law that needs no further enabling legislations.
No system for the systematic investigation and prosecution of violations against children seems to have been instituted in Darfur. Progress on this matter seems to be linked to the establishment of the Gender and Child Units within the police, which are intended to provide expertise and institutional support, currently lacking for such investigations.
Implementation has started although no law has been adopted yet. More rigorous and systematic investigation and prosecution are needed. The establishment of Gender and Child Units seems to be a good first step in this regard as noted above under the assessment of recommendation 1.3.1. It should be noted that most of the information received from the Government concerned children as perpetrators. Although this information is welcome, it did not relate directly to the recommendation which seeks to address children as victims. The group requests further information from the Government.