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Sudan: US says war crimes committed by both factions

United States Department Spokesperson speaking on Sudan. 06/12/2023   -  
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**The United States on Wednesday accused Sudan's armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces of having both committed war crimes during the brutal fighting between the two sides over the last eight months.

The United States also said the RSF was guilty of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

The war between Sudan's military led by Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the RSF led by Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo began on April 15, plunging the country into chaos.

At least 10,000 people have been killed and 6.3 million people forced to flee their homes.

“Based on the State Department’s careful analysis of the law and available facts, I have determined that members of the SAF and the RSF have committed war crimes in Sudan,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. “I have also determined that members of the RSF and allied militias have committed crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.”

The finding does not include new sanctions being imposed on leaders or members of either side but creates the authority for the U.S. to impose them.

The Biden administration has already imposed sanctions on RSF and Sudanese army officials for their actions in other parts of the country, including Khartoum, the capital.

In a press briefing, State Department spokesperson said that warring parties "must comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law."

"We call on them to protect civilians, hold accountable those responsible for atrocities and other abuses, allow unhindered humanitarian access and negotiate an end to this conflict," Miller said. 

The US also made particular mention of the fighting in the western region of Darfur, where fighting has morphed into ethnic violence in recent weeks, with the RSF and allied Arab militias attacking ethnic African groups, according to rights groups and the U.N.

Blinken said these acts "echo" the war in Darfur twenty years ago, which the United States described as "genocide".

In the early 2000s, the Janjaweed - who now form the bulk of the RSF's troops - sowed terror in this region of western Sudan, acting on behalf of the then leader Omar al-Bashir.

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