May 28 - June 4 News
Sudan is in an ongoing escalating border crisis with Ethiopia over the presence of Ethiopian farmers in Sudan[i]. During the Omar al-Bashir regime, Ethiopian farmers were able to plant crops in Sudan's al-Fashqa border region with little consequence. However, the Sudanese transitional authority cracked down on these farmers and has attempted to engage with Ethiopia on the withdrawal of these farmers. In light of this attempt at diplomacy, clashes occurred between the Sudanese army and Ethiopian militias last week[ii]. Two Sudanese individuals were killed during the clash[iii]. Nine were injured[iv].
Continuing violence in South Sudan has undermined peace efforts in South Sudan[v]. The peace deal was intended to bring an end to the civil war that began in 2013 and has cost more than 400,000 lives[vi]. However, the violence, including ethnic violence, continues,[vii] with much of the rebel army consisting of members of the Nuer ethnic group. A subgroup of the Nuer, the Lou Nuer have long-standing tensions with the Murle group of Jonglei. The top U.N. official in the country, David Shearer, believes this historical tension is exacerbated by a lack of new governors in the region and a sense of lawlessness in Jonglei state[viii].
On May 29, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution to maintain the force levels of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) until June 3, 2020[ix]. On June 4, 2020, the Security Council extended this mission until the end of the year and established a new political mission; the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) on June 4[x]. Also, during the May 29, meeting the UNSC extended the South Sudanese arms embargo until May 202112 of its current members voted in favor while Russia, China, and South Africa abstained[xi]. It also extends individual financial sanctions and travel bans for targeted individuals. The Council expressed it's "deep concern over continued fighting in South Sudan"[xii]. The midterm review of this new embargo is planned for Dec 15 with a report due by the end of October.
The ICC Appeals Chamber dismissed Mr. Gbagbo's defense's request for reconsideration of the judgment of conditional release for Mr. Gbagbo and Blé Goudé last Sunday[xiii]. Mr. Gbagbo's defense team failed to demonstrate a clear error in the reasoning of the Appeals Chamber in its decision on Feb 1, 2019, imposing release conditions. However, the Appeals Chamber did review the continued necessity of particular conditions: "(1) [no] travel beyond territorial limits of the municipality of the receiving State without the explicit and prior authorization of the Court; (2) surrender of all identity documents, particularly ... passports to the Registry; (3) [weekly] reports . . . to the law enforcement authorities of the receiving State or the Registry; and (4) abiding by any additional reasonable conditions imposed by the State of release"[xiv]. The rest of the conditions remain in place. This decision has no relevance to the appeal against the Appeals Chamber acquittal of the two individuals on Jan 15, 2019.
Sources [i]Abdur Rahaman Alfa Shaban with AP, Ethiopia calls for a truce amid escalating border crisis with Sudan, Africa News (May 31, 2020) https://www.africanews.com/2020/05/31/ethiopia-calls-for-truce-amid-escalating-border-crisis-with-sudan// [ii] MME and agencies, Sudan army and Ethiopia militias in deadly clashes near border, Middle East Eye (May 29, 2020) https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/sudan-army-and-ethiopia-militias-deadly-clashes-near-border [iii] Id. [iv] Id. [v] Max Bearak,Hundreds killed, villages destroyed in massacres undermining South Sudan’s peace deal, The Washington Post (May 28, 2020) https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/south-sudan-violence-peace-deal/2020/05/27/3b28491a-9f8a-11ea-be06-af5514ee0385_story.html [vi] Id. [vii] Id. [viii] Id. [ix], Security Council Press Release 14201, Security Council Maintains Force Levels of African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur until Jun 3, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2523 (2020) (May 29, 2020) [x] The Associated Press, UN Moves Toward Ending UN-AU Peacekeeping in Sudan’s Darfur, New York Times (June 4, 2020) https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2020/06/04/world/africa/ap-un-united-nations-sudan-darfur.html [xi] UNSC extends South Sudan arms embargo until May 2021, Al Jazeera and News Agencies (May 30, 2020) https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/unsc-extends-south-sudan-arms-embargo-2021-200530063339453.html [xii] Security Council Press Release 14199, Security Council Renews Mandate of Expert Panel Overseeing South Sudan Arms Embargo by 12 in Favour, None Against, 3 Abstentions (May 29, 2020) [xiii] International Criminal Court Press Release, ICC Appeals Chamber amends the conditions of release of MM. Gbagbo and Blé Goudé (May 28, 2020). [xiv] Id.