Certain steps to implement the recommendation have begun. On 31 July 2007, the Director General of Police issued Order No. 58/2007 to the effect that civilians taken into police custody shall not be subject to any kind of assaults, and that prison authorities shall treat inmates in a manner that ensures their rights. Similarly, the Director General of NISS issued instructions prohibiting unlawful arrest; detention in places other than designated detention facilities; prohibiting any physical assault or psychological abuse of prisoners; and safeguarding the dignity of individuals during arrest. The term “assault” in both instructions can be interpreted to encompass torture and summary executions. While these also related to arbitrary detention and forced disappearances, Police Order No. 58/2007 did not deal specifically with these human rights violations. Furthermore, the two orders mentioned above did not apply to the armed forces or any militias under the Government’s control.
According to the information received, cases of arbitrary detention, torture and summary executions continued.
Written information submitted to the group of experts on Darfur on 21 August 2007
The Department of Public Prosecutions received 33 suspects and after making preliminary inquiries charged 8 of them, pursuant to criminal indictment sheet No. 138/2007, under the following articles of the Criminal Code of 1991: articles 21 (association), 24 (criminal conspiracy), 25 (incitement), 26 (aiding and abetting), 50 (violating the Constitution), 51 (incitement of war against the State), 57 (entering and photographing military sites), 58 (incitement to sedition) and 60 (using military uniforms and symbols), articles 18 and 26 of the Weapons and Ammunition Act and articles 5 and 6 of the Counter Terrorism Act. The Minister confirmed that the accused were receiving excellent treatment.
Regarding unofficial places of detention the Government replied that the Constitution of 1998 prohibited detention outside official places of detention unless these were established under the National Security Law. The Guidance of the Director General of the National Intelligence and Security Service and of 12 August 2007 was not issued in response to an existing situation and no illegal places of detention needed to be closed. The security services have their official places of detention, supervised by the Prosecutor.
With regard to reports of ‘ghost house’s’, an investigation into the issue showed that some militias with whom Sudan signed peace agreements had illegal places of detention in Khartoum. The Government identified these places and closed them down. Last week, reacting to information about weapon cashes, the police raided the place. Reports that official authorities had secret places of detention have not been confirmed. Currently there are therefore no unofficial places of detention in Sudan under the authority of NISS.
The Government submitted to the group of experts on Darfur a list of detainees in Darfur which indicates that there were 70 detainees between 1 June and 30 October 2007, in particular, 41 in South Darfur and 29 in West Darfur. The Government stated that most detainees were released and remained in detention for periods between 10 days to two months. Seven detainees were referred to the Attorney General and one to the Police. Ten detainees remained in detention when the document was submitted to the group of experts.
The Group received many reports of secret or incommunicado detention during recent months. See some illustrative examples which have been recounted above under ‘Information Received from Other Sources on Recommendation 1.4.1’, in particular those incidents of incommunicado detention reported to have occurred in South Darfur.
Implementation seems to have begun, but because reports of incommunicado detention continue to be received, it appears that improvements have yet to be felt on the ground. No information was provided with regard to closure of all unofficial places of detention. There were reports that many civilians held by Military Intelligence and National Security were not brought promptly before the judiciary following arrest. A list of detainees was provided by the Government. However, no documents were provided with regard to whether information was shared with families of the detainees. Also no information was provided whether civilians were detained in military installations or elsewhere. There seemed to be persistent ambiguity over persons detained under national security laws and the extent to which places of detention were known outside the NISS. Information provided by the Government did not indicate precisely the place of detention, only the state, for example, ‘South Darfur’ or ‘West Darfur’.