Monday, 19 December 2011

No end in sight to conflict in South Kordofan; UK Parliament calls for "effective action"

A SPLM-N spokesman claimed nineteen people were killed last weekend when heavy clashes broke out between government forces and insurgent rebels in South Kordofan. There are reports of heavy artillery bombing by the Sudan government being carried out in Taruje, near the border with South Sudan.
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A SPLM-N rebel shows off a rocket propelled grenade launcher captured in clashes with government forces
Fighting initially broke out in June but has intensified in recent weeks, with the end of the rainy season. Earlier this month, the UK Parliament addressed a letter to the UK's Foreign Secretary William Hague, which urged the UK government to impose targeted sanctions on high level members of Sudan's ruling party, who currently enjoy unimpeded travel to the UK, where many of them even own residences. The letter furthered that unless the Government took effective action instead of making dialogue its priority, Khartoum would continue to act ruthlessly with impunity.

Meanwhile, debate continues to rage over the merits of the ICC prosecutors office seeking yet another arres warrant for a high level Sudanese official, given that no one from Sudanese government has yet stood trial in the International Criminal Court. Some experts, such as Phil Clark a long time observer at the court and a lecturer at the London School of Oriental and African Studies, have claimed the issuing of arrest warrants allows people in the West to feel as if they are acting positively to halt a genocide, despite the fact that the ICC has had little or no impact on the way the conflict in Darfur has actually played out. Not everyone agrees with this point of view of course; many claim the alleged crimes are so horrific, those who committed cannot simply get away without an international arrest warrant being issued as if it were a free pass. Although there is merit in this point, it is true that the issuing of arrest warrants for Sudanese officials has had little impact on their behaviour.

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