Sudan Govt Ratifies UN Convention Against Enforced Disappearances

Khartoum — The Council of Ministers has ratified the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED) yesterday. The decision still needs to be approved by the Sovereign Council, the Forces for Freedom and Change and the armed rebel movements that signed the Juba peace agreement.

The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED) came into force in December 2010. The text of the Convention is also available in Arabic.

The United Nations ICPPED convention contains 45 articles. The first four of them are the most important. They stipulate that "no one shall be subjected to enforced disappearance" and that "no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for enforced disappearance".

The convention defines "enforced disappearance" as "the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the state or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the state, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law".

Any country ratifying the convention must "take appropriate measures to investigate acts defined in article 2 [enforced disappearance] committed by persons or groups of persons acting without the authorization, support or acquiescence of the state and to bring those responsible to justice". They must also "take the necessary measures to ensure that enforced disappearance constitutes an offence under its criminal law".

Workshop in Khartoum

During the workshop 'Building a National Strategy to Combat Enforced Disappearances', held in Khartoum yesterday, Ministry of Justice representative Ishraga Osman accused "executives" in the country of protecting people guilty of abduction. She added that abduction is often followed by torture and murder.

Osman stated that legislation in Sudan can only deal with enforced disappearances if they comply with international legislation and conventions.

June 3 investigating committee

Nabil Adib, the chairman of the committee investigating the violent dispersal of the Khartoum sit-in on June 3 last year, said in the workshop that the committee must not just investigate and disclose what happened on June 3, 2019, but will also submit its findings to the Attorney General, so that criminal charges can be filed against those involved.

Adib stated that the impunity (the failure to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to justice) for the security forces "is a constitutional issue". As the Sudanese people have the right to justice being done, "the constitution and the law will include non-impunity, so perpetrators can be brought to court".

Minister of Culture and Information Feisal Mohamed Saleh attributed the forced disappearances during the past years to the many security agencies in the country. "The powers to detain people granted to these security agencies has led to many disappearances, and this must urgently be addressed," he said.

SUNA reported yesterday that the committee investigating the violent dispersal of the sit-in in Khartoum on June 3 last year has spoken to 250 witnesses and political leaders. According to a report sent by the committee to Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, "the committee has got real information and evidence that will enable it to enter the last phase of its final assessment".

The investigating committee has been criticized by activists and relatives of protestors killed on June 3 for not publishing a final report sooner. Chairperson Nabil Adib blamed the delay on COVID-19 and stated that the committee "insists on accuracy and the submission of an integrated criminal case to the court".

Two weeks ago, the committee set up by Sudan's Attorney General to investigate the cases of people missing since the start of the 2018 December Revolution has found a mass grave which may contain the bodies of some of the people who are still considered as 'missing' after the June 3 massacre, which caused the death of at least 127 people.

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