JUNE 2003

Justice Africa
27 June 2003


1. As President Omer al Bashir celebrates fourteen years in power, and
Dr John Garang marks twenty years since the release of the (first) SPLM
Manifesto, the mediators and external actors hope that a full peace
agreement can be reached on 14 August or thereabouts, following final
rounds of talks in Kenya. They are banking on a Draft Framework
Agreement, put together by the IGAD Secretariat with the full
involvement and support of the U.S., Britain, Norway and other key
international backers, which can be finalised after the forthcoming
talks in July. The chances of success in this enterprise are relatively
good: a Framework Agreement for Peace in Sudan may well be signed in
August or early September.

2. Should the IGAD strategy succeed, the mediators will find that they
are only half way up the mountain. Implementing the Agreement will be
least as difficult as obtaining the signatures of the principals.
the strategy fail, it seems there is no 'plan B' other than returning
the de facto tolerance of the human suffering and destruction that has
been the sorry lot of most Sudanese for two decades. Despite the
optimism, the IGAD Secretariat with the full involvement and support of
the U.S., Britain, Norway and other key international backers should
consider a 'Plan B' for both parties that could include among other
options, a no fly zone and Rapid Deployment Force for the protection of
civilians in the war zone until parties resume talks where they

IGAD's Final Push

3. The IGAD mediators are in the stage of the 'final push' for a
settlement. The plan is that the peace talks will resume in Kenya, on 6
July for three weeks. In parallel there will be negotiations on the
marginalised areas. The July talks will be on the general framework
agreement, focusing on trade-offs and exploring with the parties their
aspirations, fears, grey areas, red lines and probable guarantees.
talks will be followed by a closed session held between the mediators
(IGAD Secretariat) and the external actors (principally U.S., Britain
and Norway) to thrash out the final details of the Draft Framework
Document to be presented to the two parties in late July. The plan is
that the final session of the talks will be essentially a 'take it or
leave it' round, with negotiation possible only over the details of the
settlement. The delegations will then take the Framework Agreement back
to their leaderships, who, it is hoped, will be ready to sign. It is
planned that the only negotiations left will be security arrangements
and the three contested areas of Abyei, Nuba and South Blue Nile.
Procedural matters around the final signing ceremony are expected to
begin in first week of August.

4. High-ranking delegations from the two parties visited Washington and
other key capital cities, where they consistently received the message
that the time has come for peace. Both delegations (the GoS by the
foreign minister, the SPLA led by John Garang) were focusing on real
issues rather than posturing. John Garang met with the UN Secretary
General for the first time, and was officially received.

5. Gen Sumbeiywo visited Khartoum in early June to discuss the key
outstanding issues with the GoS. He also visited South Kordofan and
Nile. This was an opportunity for the GoS and its supporters to
in public their hardline position on the Islamic status of the capital
and that the two regions are integral parts of Northern Sudan. The IGAD
Special Envoy met with an array of senior figures, but not with
President Bashir himself. It seems likely that Bashir prefers not to
take a public leading role in the peace process at this stage, to avoid
being drawn into stating positions on key controversial subjects such
the national capital. This will make it easier for him to propose or
accept last-minute compromises.

6. During Gen Sumbeiywo's visit, the GoS said that it would emphasise
certain issues during the peace talks. These included the Islamic
character of Khartoum, the need for rapid elections, and the need for a
referendum to confirm the peace agreement and ensure popular
participation in the agreement.

7. Gen Sumbeiywo is visiting Southern Sudan on 23-27 June for a similar
round of discussions with the SPLA leadership. The SPLA also insisted
that he visit the SPLA-controlled areas of the Nuba Mountains and Blue
Nile, because he had visited the GoS-controlled parts of those
provinces. It is likely that there will be agreement on the dates for
the forthcoming talks. The SPLA made it clear that it will be reluctant
to extend the MoU for the cessation of hostilities beyond August to end
the current state of no-war no-peace.

8. The GoS approach is to be strongly in favour of peace in all public
details, and pragmatic on many issues. But there is still a hard line
key issues, notably Islamic law in the capital and the status of the
marginalised areas. The GoS appears to be counting on the fact that it
will be seen as sufficiently flexible on other issues, for the
to support its position on its no-compromise issues. IGAD's 'final
approach may work to GoS advantage if this strategy means that all the
pressure is on the SPLA at the last moment. If the mediators' proposals
are not consistent with the GoS red lines, however, the prospect of a
last-minute breakdown cannot be ruled out.

9. The SPLA continues generally to favour a peaceful solution to the
conflict but not peace at any cost. The existence of the two armies
during the interim period among other things seems to be an essential
ingredient of peace from its perspective. Unanimity is apparent within
the rank and file of the SPLA on this issue. It is also a point of
strong consensus within Southern Sudanese civil society and among
ordinary Southern Sudanese both inside and outside Sudan. This is the
red line that the SPLA will find it impossible to cross. Hence, the
possibility of the SPLA leadership abandoning the peace process at the
last moment, cannot be ruled out entirely. There are strong
constituencies in Washington DC that would support the SPLA subsequent
to any breakdown of the peace talks, especially if the breakdown were
seen to be related to issues of civilian protection

Security Issues

10. One key issue is the national army. It seems inevitable that, for
the interim period, there will be two separate armies, in line with the
SPLA position. The issue of dispute will then be, at what level in the
command structure will there be an integrated command? The mediators
(and the GoS) are unwilling to contemplate two Commanders in Chief.
Thus, President Bashir would find himself (nominally) as C-in-C of the
SPLA, although the chain of command would pass through the Vice

11. The SPLA is demanding that it has a military presence in the
capital. A sizeable unit under separate SPLA command will be
for the GoS. However, the GoS has to accept such a presence otherwise
its existence in Southern Sudan will be questionable. Moreover,
non-presence of SPLA in the capital will not encourage the Southern
leadership to be in Northern Sudan including the capital. Their
and protection of the agreement will be at risk. Un-constitutional
change of government during the interim period must not be underrated.
probable compromise proposal for the security of the national capital
that a special force will be set up to provide security for Southern
leaders. This will be akin to stationing a smaller SPLA force in
Khartoum, though it may not necessarily be presented in this way.

12. The SPLA is also raising the issue of the status of fifteen
different national security organs. This issue has implication on human
rights and the rule of law during the interim period.

Peace and Conflict among the Southern Groups

13. Khartoum is trying to strengthen its hand in the South, in pursuit
of its preferred option of a single national army. It is doing this by
dismantling the armed forces that signed the 1997 Khartoum and Fashoda
Agreements. These agreements, which were subsequently incorporated into
the Constitution, provided for two armed forces in Sudan during an
interim period leading up to a referendum. Khartoum is regretting these
agreements now. The armed forces of SPLA United and SSDF have
independent command structures. The GoS is instead strengthening the
militia that it controls more directly. It may argue that these form
part of the national army, but located in the South.

14. The issue of non-SPLA armed forces in the South remains unresolved,
despite the best efforts of a range of non-partisan Southern groups. An
All Upper Nile Peace Conference has just concluded. It was organised
under the auspices of the Sudan Peace Fund/PACT, with the aim of
building consensus among the people of this region, which is the most
divided in the whole country. The conference convened in mid-June with
only the SPLA leadership in attendance but without the leaders of other
Upper Nile political and armed factions. It needs to be clarified that
this process is not NSCC/SCC-led and amounts to hijacking a successful
Sudanese led process. There is great unease within Upper Nile and
PACT/USAID will have many questions to answer as to the motives of this
conference. Is it a genuine peace process? Or is it an exercise in
solidarity with one of armed groups by funding the congress in
Or merely an exercise in spending money? Even the assumed joint
organisers Inter-Denominational Church Committee did not attend the
Upper Nile Peace Conference; they were delayed in Khartoum. The GoS
permitted six out of 68 invitees from GoS-controlled areas to attend,
and it has notably prevented the attendance of the veteran Southern
leader Abel Alier. Whatever the doubts and results of the conference it
is a step towards wider dialogue in the footsteps of Wunlit and Liliir.
Meanwhile, the SPLA's own Upper Nile Congress is also scheduled to take
place immediately at the same place after Upper Nile Peace Conference.

15. The Southern leadership consultation conference planned by the NSCC
and SCC on behalf of civil society, postponed in May due to the SPLA
leadership's last-minute boycott, is still a popular demand among many
Southern Sudanese. Many Southerners see South-South leadership dialogue
as the only guarantee of peaceful and sustainable interim period in
Southern Sudan. The NSCC is still awaiting clarifications from the SPLA
leadership regarding the conference. A new date will be fixed in the
light of SPLA leadership response to the NSCC. The Upper Nile Peace
conference cannot by any means be considered as an alternative to the
South-South leadership conference or dialogue. The international
community including IGAD should persuade the SPLA leadership to enter
into open and transparent dialogue with other southern political and
armed groups before signing the peace agreement. SPLA dialogue with the
other Southern groups will be the guarantee to a stable interim period
in Southern Sudan and smooth exercise of the self-determination

16. The SPLA attack and capture of Akobo on 6 June underscored the
ongoing divisions in Upper Nile. The town was captured from the SSLM,
one of the groups due to attend the All Upper Nile Peace Conference.
SSLM claims that the attack cost 75 lives, including both officers and
men of the SSLM and civilian women and children. The SPLA has dismissed
the attack as a local militia feud, but in fact it was let by SPLA
commanders Johnson Gony, Moses Chol Rit and Doyak Chol. The GoS is
likely to retaliate. Dr Riak Gai, Chairman of the Southern Sudan
Coordination Council, has visited nearby militia centres of Pibor and
Waat, which indicates preparations for a counter-attack.

17. Meanwhile, there is ongoing fighting in eastern Upper Nile in Nasir
Province, chiefly Mading. The GoS-backed militia, under Cdr Chol Gaka,
captured Mading killing SPLA troops and civilians. The SPLA responded
with a counter-attack that recaptured Mading, wounding Cdr Gaka and
killing his deputy. Meanwhile there are also skirmishes in western
Nile, between the SPLA and Cdr Paulino Matiep, in the vicinity of the

18. These violations of the ceasefire underline the importance of
monitoring teams during the implementation phase. Will there be an
international observer force or monitoring mission? If this is to be
provided through the UN system then there are a number of hurdles to be
cleared. Although a debate at the UN Security Council can be called at
short order, first the mediators (and parties) must have a precise idea
of what they will be requesting. After a UNSC resolution, it will take
some time for the UN to put together a force and deploy it in Sudan.
IGAD Secretariat and the troika should begin to put in place relevant
mechanisms for immediate deployment of whatever international force the
parties have already indicated to accept.

The National Capital

19. A second key issue is the status of the national capital. This is
the most politically sensitive issue at the moment, with the potential
for derailing the peace process. At the Cairo meeting last month, the
SPLA, DUP and Umma Party presented a common position on a capital city
subject not subject to Islamic law. The precise geographical definition
of the capital territory was not specified, so that implicitly it could
be a small enclave confined to the central part of Khartoum and exclude
Omdurman and other parts of the Three Towns. The word 'secular' was not
expressly used. However, the strongly hostile response to this proposal
by the National Congress and senior government figures suggests that it
will be extremely difficult to get GoS consent for any proposal for a
secular capital under any wording. The NCP insisted that Khartoum
remain Islamic at any cost.

20. The spark for the GoS's rejection of the Cairo Declaration and the
prospect of a non-Islamic capital was a 'Working Paper' signed in
between the SPLA and the Popular Congress Party (headed by the detained
Hassan al Turabi) on 3 June. This was not specific on the Islamic
character of Khartoum but implied that it should be a 'single national
capital', with its status to be decided democratically. This meeting
touched the GoS's most sensitive nerve: its support among the Islamist
movement. The GoS's response must be understood in the context of thus
far unexplained factional discord within the Islamist movement. Various
Islamist groups responded with extremely vociferous denunciations of
Cairo Declaration, including threats of selective assassination of
eleven prominent secularists by a fringe extremist organisation calling
itself the Society of Muslims-Koranic Battalion. Northern political
parties and civic groups organised a solidarity rally aimed at keeping
Khartoum Islamic. The GoS cracked down hard on students and civil
society organisations planning a counter demonstration in favour of the
Cairo Declaration: their proposed 'Khartoum Declaration' would have
isolated the GoS and its position. These opposition groups are still
determined to meet and produce this resolution. The crackdown has been
implemented with a viciousness not seen for some years, indicating more
the depth of infighting within the Islamist movement than the
sensitivity of the issue itself.

21. The Egyptian factor may be significant in any ultimate resolution
this issue. The Cairo Declaration could only have been signed with the
clear assent of the Egyptian government. President Husni Mubarak's trip
to Khartoum last month and his second planned trip may well be intended
in part to pressure the GoS on this issue.

22. This issue is still unresolved, and different proposals are under
discussion among the mediators and external supporters. The most
probable compromise position to be forwarded by the mediators is that,
within the capital territory, rights will be based on citizenship
and that individuals will be able to choose whether they are subject to
Islamic law or secular law. There are many difficulties with this
formulation-and indeed with any attempt to find a compromise between
fundamentally incompatible legal systems. It remains to be seen whether
such a compromise will be acceptable to either party. Another
would be to propose a shari'a-free enclave, but limit it to a small
of the centre of the city.


23. Another dimension to the intra-Islamist dispute has been the
re-surfacing of the issue of accountability for human rights abuses. On
several occasions the PCP has made it clear that it is ready for an
examination of the human rights record of the NIF government, and has
leaked some information from its dossiers and threatened to publish
more. It does this confident that those it is naming are either in
security officers in government now or are dead.

24. On its side, the GoS has launched a fierce counter-attack on the
record of Hassan al Turabi, accusing him and his supporters being
responsible for oppression, totalitarianism and human rights abuses
he was in de facto ruler. However, this approach runs the risk of
President Bashir look foolish: was he not President during the time
Turabi was allegedly pulling the strings? The human rights card is
likely to be a played ruthlessly as the Islamists continue their

Power Sharing

25. Various formulae for power-sharing have been broached. The GoS
prefers two Vice Presidents (one to be Ali Osman Mohamed Taha), and
failing that, a single VP who cannot succeed the President in case the
Presidency becomes vacant. It may also consider the proposal floated by
Mulana Mohamed Osman al Mirghani for a five-man Republican Council,
would keep both Bashir and Ali Osman at the summit of power. The SPLA's
preferred position is a rotating presidency, which the GoS will not
accept, but failing that, is ready to accept a single Vice Presidency
with enhanced powers (including virtually exclusive authority over the
South). The SPLA is demanding a broad-based government that includes

26. The mediators are likely to settle on the following: the President
will be from the North and there will be a single Vice President from
the South. The VP will not be able to assume the Presidency: should the
President be incapacitated, then it will fall upon the ruling party in
the North to nominate as successor. Similarly, the VP will not take
the position as C-in-C of the national army. Elections will be held for
all constitutional positions before the mid-term of the interim period,
with the same formula holding: President from the North, VP from the

27. The formula of President from the ruling party of the North and the
VP from the South is quite compatible with a variant of the Republican
Council proposal. A State Council of five, with representation across
parties and regions, could have these two pre-eminent constitutional
positions reserved for North and South. This would have the advantage
ensuring greater buy-in to the agreement from parties that command
widespread popular support across Sudan, such as the Umma and DUP.

The Marginalised Areas

28. The issue of the marginalised areas is perhaps the most difficult
issue still outstanding. This is one area in which the GoS is
uncompromising. It will not bring Abyei, Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile
into the main negotiating process which, it maintains, is solely
concerned with the South. The GoS is ready to discuss these areas, even
in the same location at the same time, with a simultaneous agreement to
be signed. But it is not ready to accord this agreement the same legal
status as the overall Framework Agreement. In addition, its substantive
concessions on the three areas are very minor. For Abyei, it is ready
contemplate a referendum, but on the other two areas there is no
compromise. However, the parties have renewed the Nuba ceasefire
agreement for a further six months.

29. A conference was organised on the issue of Abyei, by the Sudan
Fund (based in Nairobi) in early June. This turned out to be an
in solidarity with the SPLA, in which the participants mandated the
to negotiate on their behalf. It asserted that Abyei is part of
Sudan demanded immediate restoration of the area to Bahr el Ghazal.
outcome was foregone after the GoS prevented invitees from GoS areas
from attending.

Popularising and Implementing an Agreement

30. Popularising the agreement remains an important component of the
peace process. To date, the negotiating process and the content of
agreements remains a closely guarded secret. Even some of the members
the delegations to the peace talks confess to being in the dark about
what is being discussed and agreed. The population at large, including
senior commanders of the armed forces on both sides, are even more at a
loss. For that reason, there is widespread caution about the peace
process, and considerable scepticism about what is being achieved.
has not been built, and the process for democratic affirmation of the
peace may be more uncertain than the parties expect.

31. Implementing the agreement will be as big a challenge as
it. The GoS and National Congress Party are actively preparing for the
challenge of peace. Various sectors of the party base are being
mobilised, including the youth, women and the 'special entity' of the
Islamist movement. This mobilisation was critical in sparking the
popular demonstrations in favour of an Islamic capital. This
demonstrates that GoS supporters are strongly under the impression that
it is possible to have peace on their terms, and is an indicator that
some issues may remain explosive even after formal agreement is

32. The GoS has also been active in briefing the leadership of the army
on the peace process, with a high-level delegation visiting garrisons
and the Gabiet training school in eastern Sudan.

33. In the South, the SPLA is pursuing contacts with the Arab League
(and has invited its Secretary General to visit Southern Sudan). Many
international organisations are gearing up for post-conflict

34. The Southern population both in GoS and SPLA areas are in the dark
on the peace process. In absence of information rumours abound among
Southerners wherever they are. Fortunately, the ordinary people in
Southern Sudan are yearning for a just peace. They even have their red
lines: There must be at least two separate armies in South Sudan.
Another issue of importance is demilitarisation of the towns Juba,
Malakal and Wau. The security in these towns should be provided by the
police under international monitoring. International presence in
forms during the interim period should be guaranteed by peacekeeping
forces and monitors. People insist that the North cannot be trusted and
therefore there must be firm international guarantees to the peace

Social and Economic Issues

35. Social and economic issues are relatively uncontroversial in this
stage of the peace process. The SPLA is still insisting that its New
Sudan Pound should be a recognised currency. At the minimum, it will
have to agree that the New Sudan Pound is a denomination of the
Dinar. The key socio-economic issues will arise in the post-conflict

36. HIV/AIDS is recognised by both parties and the mediators as an
extremely important post-conflict issue, but has not yet been
incorporated into the peace process. At present, HIV prevalence in
is unknown due to reliance on just four surveillance sites, none of
which are in conflict zones, and an official figure of 2.6% is almost
certainly too low. It is expected that the end of the war will see a
substantial return of refugees and displaced people, increased internal
movement and trade, and widespread demobilisation of former combatants.
The fear is that these conditions will facilitate a rapid spread of
The implications of this include sickness and early death among all
sections of society, most particularly the scarce educated people who
will be needed to run an administration of Southern Sudan. A
HIV/AIDS epidemic would place a heavy burden on the country's
health infrastructure and contribute to impoverishment and food

37. Sudan's national economy has been posting good GDP growth in recent
years, averaging 5-7%. Its inflation has been coming down. The Bretton
Woods Institutions have been, overall, favourably impressed with the
government's economic management. However, this has been possible due
largely to the oil windfall and the fact that Sudan's debt management
strategy has been simply not to pay what it is due. It has even had
difficulty in repaying the relatively modest repayments due on its debt
to the IMF.

38. Generous debt relief must be an integral part of a post-conflict
package in Sudan. The country's international debt of $22 billion is,
proportionately, one of the largest in the world. Most of this debt is
accrued arrears on debts run up in the 1970s. Unusually for a
highly-indebted poor country, this debt is owed to a large range of
lenders including not just the 'Paris Club' of OECD governments, but
also banks, Arab governments and Eastern European countries. The
complexity of the debt will make a comprehensive debt agreement more
difficult, because putting Sudan on the fast track for HIPC debt relief
will only address a portion of its debt burden.


39. Darfur has been militarily quiet during the last month. The GoS is
divided as to how to respond to the insurrection, with some leading
figures advocating force and others advising negotiation. The GoS is
unable to focus on the Darfur crisis with the singlemindedness that it
warrants, making it likely that a policy of force will prevail. The
will however be incapable of defeating the rebels, and any excesses
it perpetrates will merely escalate the resistance. As the rainy season
progresses, however, military activities on both sides will be
constrained. Arrests of students and activists have intensified. The
humanitarian needs in the area will escalate as long as the conflict

40. The SLA has many issues to resolve. It is led by young and
relatively inexperienced politicians, who followed the SPLA pattern of
beginning its military activities before their political agenda had
clarified. As a result it is now rapidly trying to cope with a huge
influx of recruits to its numerous camps. At the same time it is
hard to establish good working relations with the various Darfur
outside the country, many of which it distrusts. The SLA is
overwhelmingly led by Fur and Zaghawa, with Masalit and other 'Zurga'
(black) leaders and groups rapidly mobilising. It also faces the
challenge of how to deal with the Darfur Arab Alliance, which has
traditionally turned to Khartoum for support, but which shares many of
the same grievances over the neglect of the region.

The External Partners

41. President Bush is visiting Africa in July but it seems very
that he will go to Kenya and play any personal role in the peace talks.
One reason for not visiting Kenya is the ongoing security alert related
to the presence of al Qa'ida operatives in the area. A second reason is
the uncertainty over the endgame of the peace process, so that it
be guaranteed that Bush would be present at the required moment, or
indeed that the peace deal will be successfully concluded. It is more
probable that Senator Danforth would attend any final signing. However,
most Sudanese are hoping that President Bush himself will be ready to
bless a peace agreement.

42. While the State Department is wholly committed to the peace
and President Bush has indicated that peace is his policy, the U.S.
posture on Sudan still remains ultimately ambivalent. However, it is
remarkable the degree to which the U.S. is part of a very wide array of
international partners with a very similar approach to Sudan. This
coalition has been an extraordinary asset in the peace process. It has
compensated for any U.S. foibles. The more it can remain in place to
oversee the implementation of any deal, the better.

43. The ad hoc multilateralism of the external partners has been
to the success of the peace process thus far. To a significant extent,
the peace process gained momentum when all the key international
began to coordinate their approaches, giving the parties no option but
to concur or to pull out altogether. While the key leverage has come
from the U.S., Britain's Special Envoy has provided the crucial
of diplomatic persistence and understanding. It is important that this
combination of coordination, leverage and experience remains even after
the signing of any peace agreement: the implementation phase will also
prove to be difficult.


44. Peace has never seemed closer in Sudan. But the last leg of the
peace marathon may be the most difficult. Infighting among the Islamist
movement remains a threat. The GoS is standing firm on the issue of
Islamic law for Khartoum, and the mediators and external partners may
not necessarily be in a position to wring the final concessions out the
GoS, having gone so far along with the peace process, and being so
clearly committed to a peace agreement in the near future. A 'plan B'
for pressuring the parties, especially the GoS, will need to include
quickly-implementable measures for protection of civilians in the war
zones should there be a sudden irruption of fighting.

45. If a peace agreement is signed on schedule, the challenges ahead
will be no less daunting. Many of these issues need to be addressed
The international community, both governments and NGOs, should begin to
support various Sudanese specialised conferences focusing on the issues
that need to be tackled during the pre-interim period once the peace
agreement is concluded. Six months pre-interim period may not be a long
time for fund-raising and conducting informed consultations on issues
of constitutional drafting and other relevant issues.