A recently released 2015/16 Amnesty International Report strongly criticises the South African government, as signatories to the Rome Statute, for failing to arrest and surrender Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, to the International Criminal Court in June 2015, for his alleged crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in Darfur. The report refers to this as a betrayal of the hundreds of thousands of victims killed during the Darfur conflict. Following a ruling of the High Court in Pretoria that it should have arrested al-Bashir when he visited South Africa for an African Union meeting, the government wants the Supreme Court of Appeal to set aside this decision and determine whether the orders by the High Court were defective at law in that their implementation would have exposed South Africa to adverse international legal and diplomatic consequences.
The crimes for which al-Bashir has an ICC warrant of arrest issued against him are not the only concerns of international human rights organisations. In the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, the Sudanese government is fighting an indiscriminate war against civilians. Amnesty International visited the area in May 2015 and documented serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights, including aerial and ground attacks targeted at civilians and the denial of humanitarian access.
This week’s Special Assignment brings home the heart-wrenching brutality of these attacks through the documentary Madina’s Dream which exposes the Sudanese government’s use of aerial bombings and starvation warfare against the inhabitants of the Nuba Mountains. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled to refugee camps in South Sudan or remain trapped in the war zone. People’s Liberation Army do their best to protect civilians from the incursions but government forces control the skies, flying bombing missions almost daily throughout the region.
Why is the world silent about the atrocities of this forgotten war?
Watch Madina’s Dream directed by Andrew Berends. It will be broadcast on Special Assignment – aired Sundays on SABC 3 at 20:30. Repeated Wednesdays at 23:30