Written information submitted to the group of experts on Darfur on 21 August 2007
A workshop on the demobilization of child soldiers was planned for September 2007 by the Advisory Council for Human Rights in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence, the Disarmament, Demobilization and Re Integration Commission and the National Council for Child Welfare and with the participation and support of UNICEF. The event was aimed at 30 members of the regular forces and 30 members of the joint forces. The Advisory Council, in cooperation with the accredited office in the Karari district of the governorate of Omduran, investigated the situation of children who have been displaced; the city has some 30,000 families. It also looked at the provision of basic services.
The Government informed the group of experts orally that it had identified 857 child soldiers in eastern Jebel Marra/ Sharia areas. The Sudan Task Force on Children and Armed Conflict did not receive any report confirming this information.
With regard to the plan of action, the Government responded that several workshops in short term work plan were conducted: one workshop on the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment was held in September 2007. Another workshop was held jointly with UNMIS on 5 and 6 September 2007, which focused on the right to fair trial. The workshop targeted officials that might be deployed to Darfur and its aim was to improve the skills of judges and prosecutors.
Two DDR commissions have been set up in North and South Darfur to address issues relating to children. SLA/MM has envisaged the implementation of a plan with UNICEF; however, funds have been lacking to bring these plans to fruition.
Outposts of the Northern Disarmament, Demobilization and Re Integration Commission (supported by UNICEF) have been established in the three Darfur States but have not been functioning effectively. The Northern Commission and UNICEF started a project to raise awareness on child recruitment and Disarmament, Demobilization and Re Integration for children among armed groups. The Commission further took initiatives to run workshops with ministries to ensure coordination, and was actively collaborating with the Ministries of Social Welfare and Education in particular.
A concern was that there were still issues related to the ‘competent authority’ for child Disarmament, Demobilization and Re Integration in Darfur, in that the DPA established the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority to manage rehabilitation and reintegration services identified in the DPA.
More broadly on Disarmament, Demobilization and Re Integration of children, UNICEF and the Sudan Liberation Movement Army (SLM/A) signed a joint Action Plan on 11 June 2007 regarding the Disarmament, Demobilization and Re Integration of children associated with the SLM/A, as part of efforts to implement commitments made in the Darfur Peace Agreement. Short term commitments (i.e. within 2 months after signature) in the Plan include: to internally identify the locations where children are associated with the SLM/A and their numbers; to conduct joint missions with SLM/A and the UN to identify and verify these children, and understand their reintegration needs; to raise awareness of SLM/A commanders in the field of child rights and protection. Implementation has been delayed because of ongoing peace talks.
Disarmament, demobilization and re integration commissions have been established in Nyala, Geneina, and El Fasher, and provided with staff. However, the staff have not been trained in child protection or demobilization and reintegration of children. Moreover, the work of these commissions cannot commence in the absence of a clear agreement between the Government and armed groups as to how it should proceed.
On the agreement between UNICEF and SLA/MM regarding demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers, according to UNICEF, the ongoing conflict in Darfur had made it difficult to follow up on the agreement. Nonetheless, SLA/MM sees has indicated its commitment in moving forward with the verification process. The main obstacle at the time of the writing of the present report to the absence of an agreement between SLA/MM and the Government on the structure for supporting child Disarmament, Demobilization and Re Integration in Darfur.
The Government did not provide information regarding Disarmament, Demobilization and Re Integration in Darfur, except for East Jebel Mara. Additional information received suggests that the Northern Disarmament, Demobilization and Re Integration Commission has started its work in cooperation with UNICEF.
Written information submitted to the Special Rapporteur during her mission in Sudan from 25 July 2007 to 2 August 2007
The Order of the Director General of the Police No. 58/2007 on the treatment of detainees and prisoners, 31st July, adopted in pursuance of the Police Forces Act, reminds police officers, including officers, commissioned officers and soldiers, of their role in the protection of citizens and in ensuring the legal and humanitarian aspects in the treatment of convicted or arrested civilians. The order reminds these officers to activate their protection role in order to attain the best possible treatment of civilians and to prevent assaulting them. The Order further states that the general administration of prisons shall treat inmates in a manner that ensures their rights and realizes their reform and correction.
No. 58/2007 states in paragraphs 1 3 that: “1. All members of the security apparatus and National Intelligence implementation of safeguards enshrined in the law and the regulations on the treatment of detainees in 1996, especially those related to the verification of the implementation of the law in the case of arrest and prohibit unlawful detention or detention in other places of detention with the risk of arrest and their families not to abuse or physical abuse of detainees psychological methods or degrade their dignity during arrest guaranteeing their health care and family visits according to the regulations governing this. 2. In the case of any member of the apparatus of any violation of the existing laws provide him with the initial justify the charge against him is committed to the submission of the trial or tried in court by summary of the non permanent, as determined by law. 3. The directives should be circulated to all units of the National Intelligence and Security and to all members of the commitment and action, all of which have committed an offence presents himself for accountability and punishment as the law.”
In 2007, six training courses were held for security services personnel, consisting of 14 lectures on the legal principles behind human rights and international humanitarian law with a focus on guarantees in the event of arrest and the rights of detainees. The courses were run at the security services training institute for a total of 120 officers. Pursuant to an agreement on the rights of non Muslims concluded in the capital Khartoum with the Commission of Non Muslims and the judiciary, approximately 800 individuals, mostly from the southern states, who had been accused or found guilty of smuggling alcohol, were released. The Commission undertook to contact the Government in the South in order to provide appropriate means of living. The Director General of NISS issued the following instructions pursuant to article 73 of the National Security Forces Act of 1999, as amended in 2004,: “Guarantees in the event of arrest: All members of national security and the intelligence services shall comply with the guarantees established by the law and in the regulation of 1996 on the treatment of prisoners, particularly those concerned with: implementation of the law in the event of an arrest; the prohibition of unlawful arrests and detention in places other than designated detention facilities; the requirement to notify the family of a person placed under arrest; the prohibition on physical assault or psychological abuse of prisoners; and compliance with the procedures which safeguard the dignity of individuals during arrest and guarantee the right to health care and family visits in accordance with the relevant regulations. Compliance with circular and implementation of instructions: The present instructions shall be circulated to all security units and national intelligence units and all members of the security services shall comply with and implement them. Anyone who breaches them shall be prosecuted and punished in the manner provided for by law.”
Information orally submitted to the group of experts on 18 September 2007
Order 58/2007 by the Director of Police on treatment of the detainees and prisoners in 4.1.4., 1.4.2. and 1.4.3. contains the following guarantees: prohibition of illegal detention (in places other than official ones), no physical or psychological aggression of detainees, prohibition of inhuman treatment; family visits and health care guaranteed; fair trial guarantees, right to have access to lawyers, the right to be presented promptly before a judicial authority; presumption of innocence. The Order 58/2007 supplements Article 4 of the Penal Code, which provides for the following basic principles: presumption of innocence, fair trial, prompt charges, access to evidence and witnesses, access to lawyers, right to call one’s own witnesses. Several cases have been brought against officers of the National Intelligence and Security Services (one case in Khartoum when a detainee was killed); there are three or four other cases. Another example, which was not directly related to Darfur, but illustrates that all guarantees of detainees under the authority of NISS have been respected is a case of July 2007, when 27 suspects were detained on charges of subversive activities, using weapons to cause destruction and organizing a coup; the suspects including former minister of Interior, another Minister and several members of the military, Mr Hassanin were detained by the security apparatus. In response a public committee composed of three judicial officers was set up to investigate this specific case; while in detention, all suspects could see their families, had access to lawyers and received medical treatment from their private doctors. The 27 lawyers representing the suspects requested the Public Prosecutor to renounce the charges, but the Prosecutor refused to proceed on the basis of existing evidence. 24 statements were taken down, but 3 suspects have disappeared. Regarding persons detained under the authority of NISS, nine names were given in Sudan’s progress report submitted to the Group. These were detained in connection with the Kashabar events and all of them have been freed in the meanwhile. Currently nobody is held under the authority of NISS, all other detainees are being suspected or accused of having committed criminal offences. After the Abuja agreement all persons detained in connection with Darfur by NISS were freed. Suleyman Dzhamous was allowed to travel to Kenya for medical treatment.
Order 57 relates to the legal conditions on jurisdiction. If the complainant is a civilian, the case will be dealt with before a civil court; if the complainant is a member of police, it will go to the police court. In general penalties provided by police Code are stricter than those in Criminal Law. In Northern Khartoum a trial of a police officer who tortured a person to death is on going before an ordinary court. In parallel a juvenile court is currently trying three persons previously working for the criminal investigation unit, suspected of having tortured a person.
The Government stated that the Ministry of Justice had issued a directive that there should be prosecutors who remain on duty after normal working hours (08:00 14:00). Prosecutors have been appointed to work in various geographical zones and to work on shifts in order to ensure 24 hour availability in regard to determination of the lawful status of detention. At any time, human rights officers can contact prosecutors directly instead of having to refer themselves first to the police.
The Government indicated that in early November 2007, the Constitutional Court of Sudan had rendered a judgement upholding the constitutional right to litigate which pertained to the question of immunities from prosecution. The main development was that the Court decided that it was the judiciary and not other branches of government that was authorized to lift immunities from prosecution for police officers. Moreover, there was a special prosecutor who was responsible for supervising the lawfulness of detention in regard to all individuals detained under national security laws.