The report, titled Toward Peace with Justice in Darfur: A Framework for Accountability, was envisioned by Dr. Mohammed Ahmed Abdallah Eisa, recipient of the 2007 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. Dr. Mohammed is a physician and former Professor of Medicine at el-Fasher University in Darfur, specializing in the treatment of survivors of torture and sexual violence. The report is intended to be used as a tool to aid members of Darfuri civil society in determining which transitional justice mechanisms to implement.
“This report is a response to the Darfuri people’s call for peace and accountability and provides them with the option of selecting the best transitional justice mechanism to address their specific needs,” said Dr. Mohammed.
Since 2003, the people of Sudan’s western region of Darfur have been in armed conflict with government authorities, demanding an end to decades of marginalization and neglect. The rebellion has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, mass displacements and other human rights violations, such as torture and rape. Nevertheless, it is widely hoped that negotiations between Darfur rebel groups and the government, ongoing in Doha, Qatar, will soon result in a viable peace plan. If so, the Darfuri people will face a host of complex issues, from rebuilding destroyed infrastructure to resettling the millions of people displaced by the conflict. This report explores methods for approaching one aspect of Darfur’s post-conflict transition: seeking accountability for persons responsible for atrocity.
Toward Peace with Justice in Darfur explains the status of various accountability methods in use or available in Sudan, and examines Sudan’s national and local court systems. It also reviews the legal framework applicable to prosecutions and the creation of truth commissions. The experiences of similarly situated African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Rwanda are employed as models for post-conflict transitional justice. However, recognizing that accountability for atrocities is a global struggle and that much can be learned from outside the regional context, the experiences of Canada, Cambodia, Peru, and the former Yugoslavia are also analyzed.
The report concludes that a combination of prosecutions, at various levels, as well as truth-seeking mechanisms, is important for any transitional society. It stresses that local political will and engagement with the international community have historically been crucial for the success of any post-conflict plan. Finally, the report emphasizes that it must be the people of Darfur who take the lead in ensuring for themselves justice for past wrongs and a future free from violence.
On March 23, the RFK Center launched the report with a panel featuring RFK Human Rights Laureate Dr. Mohammed Ahmed Abdallah Eisa; Diane Marie Amann, Director of the California International Law Center at UC Davis School of Law and Monika Kalra Varma, Director of the RFK Center for Human Rights.