In Sudan, bodies found in mass graves still not identified

This is a key moment in the events of June 3, 2019. On that day, more than 127 Sudanese were killed during the dismantling of the sit-in organized to demand the handing over of power to civilians. Among the many bodies discovered since that day in mass graves and morgues, some could be those of those who disappeared on June 3, but also from the thirty years of Omar El Béchir’s dictatorship.

→ INVESTIGATION. In Sudan, the victims of the revolution still have not obtained justice

To identify them, the two main committees responsible for shedding light on those responsible for the massacre and on the missing, asked the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF), an NGO specializing in the return of the bodies of the missing to their family. From July 4 to 15, the forensic anthropologist, Mercedes Salado Puerto, the forensic pathologist Jose Luis Prieto and the lawyer Anjli Parrin therefore came to draw up a first inventory. But they were denied access to one of Khartoum’s morgues.

A lack of communication

« They asked to see the bodies in order to understand the problems encountered to autopsy them and try to remedy them. However, the director of the Attorney General’s Office was waiting for us in front of the morgue. He told us that he was ordered not to let any “foreigner” enter “, details Ahmed Suleiman, the rapporteur of the Committee of Inquiry into the Missing.

The Acting Attorney General, Mubarak Mahmoud Othman, explains that he was not informed in time of the presence of the EAAF delegates. What he firstly justifies by “Poor communication with the previous attorney general”. Before blaming the lawyer Altayeb Alaabasy, at the head of the Committee to investigate the missing. He would have “Hidden the arrival of Argentine experts. I spoke with him around June 21 on another matter. When he left, he told me that this delegation would come but without telling me when ”, says the prosecutor.

Altayeb Alaabasy nevertheless assures him that he detailed the EAAF program three days before his arrival. Then, calling him “At least six times” to invite him to a workshop run by the NGO on July 11. Too busy, Mubarak Mahmoud Othman missed these calls. “Such an invitation is normally made in writing or in person and not by telephone., insists the latter. Because it is not just any experts but international experts specializing in this field. “

Training for Sudanese jurists

Contacted, the Argentine trio did not wish to speak. Its members must now draft recommendations for their next trip to train Sudanese forensic scientists to extract bodies from mass graves and identify those with damaged DNA. For his part, the prosecutor undertook to join them upstream in order to welcome them, this time, formally.

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A promise that makes Egbal Ahmed Ali tick. A lawyer, she defends the families of the 28 officers executed in 1990 and whose authentication of the bodies, found last year in a mass grave, also requires the expertise of the EAAF. “Mubarak Mahmoud Othman worked for several years under Omar El Béchir, as head of financial and management services of the Attorney General. He is known to retain ties to the previous regime. He does not want justice to be served. “

Italso notes irregularities surrounding the appointment of the said prosecutor, which took place in mid-May, following the resignation of his predecessor. Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and the head of the Sovereign Transitional Council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, then attended the Paris Conference on Sudan, effectively leaving Muhammad Hamdan Dogolo, number two of the Sovereign Council, to the country orders. Nicknamed “Hemeti”, he also heads the Rapid Support Forces (FSR), paramilitary militias accused by victims and witnesses of murders, abuses and rapes during the dismantling of the sit-in.

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The Sudanese revolution

December 19, 2018. Across the country, the Sudanese are demonstrating against the tripling of the price of bread.

6 avril 2019. start of a sit-in of thousands of demonstrators in front of the army headquarters in Khartoum.

11 avril 2019. Omar El Béchir, who came to power in 1989 by a coup, was dismissed and arrested by the army.

June 3, 2019. the sit-in is dispersed by armed men in military uniform, resulting in the death of around 100 people.

August 17, 2019. formation of the Sovereignty Council, chaired by General Abdel Fattah Al Burhane.

October 3, 2020. a peace agreement is signed with the rebel groups.

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