A U.S. human rights group has obtained documents that
detail Sudan's aid to the Janjaweed militia, responsible for the killing of
30,000 and expulsion of 1.2 million black Africans from the Darfour
Human Rights Watch released Sudanese government documents that detailed
the regime's recruitment, training and arming of Janjaweed. The group
released English translations of the official documents dating from November
2003 until March 2004 at a news conference at the United Nations on Monday.
The documents appeared to demonstrate that Khartoum ordered an increase
in recruitment and military support to Janjaweed even as the regime denied
any connection to the Arab militia. The documents also ordered Sudanese
forces to overlook offenses against civilians by Janjaweed.
"The Sudanese government had maintained that the Janjaweed militia are
an autonomous entity, that Khartoum has no control over the marauding
atrocities committed by the Janjaweed," HRW executive director Kenneth Roth
said. "In fact, what these documents show is that the government in Khartoum
has been supporting the Janjaweed as a matter of official policy. They have
been supporting them through recruitment, through armament, and through a
policy of impunity, at least with respect to some of the atrocities
committed by the Janjaweed."
The documents appeared to support an assessment by the State Department
that the Khartoum regime has trained, equipped and supported Janjaweed in
missions throughout Darfour. In early July, Secretary of State Colin Powell
and a delegation from the U.S. Congress toured Darfour.
[On Monday, a Sudanese court in Nyala sentenced 10 Arab Janjaweed
fighters to amputation and six years in jail for "exacerbating the conflict"
in Darfour. At the same time, Western diplomatic sources said Janjaweed
units continued to attack black Africans in the province.]
U.S. officials have expressed concern that Khartoum might be
incorporating Janjaweed into the Sudanese police and military forces in
Darfour. They said Sudan has rejected any demand to prosecute Janjaweed
leaders for war crimes.
In a Feb. 12 Sudanese government directive provided by HRW, the office
of the commissioner of North Darfur called for increased recruitment and
military support to so-called "loyalist" tribes. The commission also ordered
a plan to confiscate the homes of black Africans expelled by Janjaweed and
transfer them to nomadic Arab tribes.
The following day, Sudanese authorities ordered security units in
Darfour to facilitate attacks by Janjaweed militia leader Mussa Hillal. The
Feb. 13, 2004 document called on Sudanese units in a North Darfour to
"overlook minor offenses by the fighters against civilians who are suspected
members of the rebellion."
In a March directive, the office of the governor of South Darfour called
on the commissioner of Nyala, the capital of South Darfour, to establish a
security committee and increase Janjaweed recruitment to ensure the
elimination of Darfour rebels. The governor asked the commissioner to
"swiftly deliver provisions and ammunition to the new camps to secure the
southwestern part of the state."
HRW did not provide the original government documents. The group said it
did not want to endanger the source of the memorandums, described as
somebody who has been proven credible.
"The directives issued by government officials illustrate the extent to
which the government-backed militias are used as auxiliaries in the military
campaign and a fundamental tool and instrument of government policy and
military strategy," HRW said in a report.