Sudan Report

US Senators call for action. AllAfrica.com reports that a group of US Senators has called on the Bush administration to take immediate action on Sudan, introducing the Darfur Accountability Act: 'A bipartisan group of U.S. senators is calling for immediate action by the administration of President George W. Bush and the U.N. Security Council to stop the violence in Darfur. Senators Jon Corzine and Sam Brownback, who led the successful effort last summer to enact a resolution finding that Khartoum and Arab militias, called Janjaweed, in Darfur were committing "genocide" against the African population in the region, introduced the Darfur Acountability Act (DAA) Wednesday, along with six other Republican and Democratic senators. The Act, which is non-binding, calls for a new U.N. Security Council resolution imposing sanctions against the Sudanese government; the extension of an arms embargo against unofficial groups in Darfur to Khartoum itself; a freeze of assets and the denial of visas to those responsible for the killings; enhanced support for an African Union observer mission in the region; the appointment of a presidential envoy for Sudan; and the imposition of a no-fly zone over Darfur.' The article goes on to cite differences over the proper venue for future human-rights trials (the International Criminal Court or an African court). The article also notes criticism of the Bush administration, which 'has not yet applied all of the bilateral sanctions against the government that Congress authorised last fall. In particular, it has failed so far to publish a list of individuals in the government and the Janjaweed whose assets Congress asked to be frozen. In addition, the administration has not asked the Security Council to modify the AU force's mandate to include protection of civilians.' Read the full article at the link. (AllAfrica.com)

Kristof: Eyewitness to genocide. Nick Kristof writes this harrowing account in the International Herald Tribune: 'American soldiers are trained to shoot at the enemy. They're prepared to be shot at. But what young men like Brian Steidle are not equipped for is witnessing a genocide but being unable to protect the civilians pleading for help. If President George W. Bush wants to figure out whether the United States should stand more firmly against the genocide in Darfur, I suggest that he invite Steidle to the White House to give a briefing. Steidle, 28, a former Marine captain, was one of just three U.S. military advisers for the African Union monitoring team in Darfur - and he is bursting with frustration. "Every single day you go out to see another burned village, and more dead bodies," he said. "And the children - you see 6-month-old babies that have been shot, and 3-year-old kids with their faces smashed in with rifle butts. And you just have to stand there and write your reports." ... ' (IHT)

Janjaweed leader: Sudan regime ordered killings. Meera Selva of The Independent (UK) quotes warlord Musa Hilal as saying that the Sudanese regime in Khartoum asked him to provide killers: 'A powerful Sudanese sheikh, widely regarded as a senior leader of the Janjaweed militia, has said that the Sudanese government in Khartoum asked him to supply fighters to attack civilians in Darfur. Musa Hilal, described the by the US State Department as a Janjaweed co-ordinator, said the government had asked him to mobilise the 300,000 tribesmen he claims to be responsible for. In an interview with Human Rights Watch, he said: "The government has told us to mobilise people. We've gone to the people to tell them to join the PDF [militia] and defend your country, defend the land, defend the country's most important things, and that you have to fight for your survival and the country's stability." The Sudanese government has always said the violence in Darfur was caused by ancient tribal rivalries, and that it had never encouraged or supported one side over the other. It has also promised repeatedly to disarm the militias in Darfur and blamed the continuing violence in the region on its inability to bring the groups under control. But Mr Hilal said the government had the ability to disarm the PDF - a paramilitary group that is part of the Janjaweed - if it chose to do so. He said: "They [The government] are the ones that gave the PDF guns. They're the ones that recruited the PDF; they're the ones that pay their salaries; they give them their ID cards. They can disarm them or they can leave them alone ... ' (The Independent)