[JURIST] Human rights groups Amnesty International (AI) [official website] and Human Rights Watch (HRW) [official website] on Tuesday said they have evidence that the Sudanese army has committed war crimes [press release] in the country’s South Kordofan region. Researchers from the two advocacy groups visited the Nuba Mountain region of South Kordofan where they “documented 13 separate bombing incidents in Kauda, Delami and Kurchi towns alone, in which at least 26 civilians were killed and more than 45 others injured since mid-June.” The researchers claim bombings occurred on a continuous basis during their time in the region. They argue that the use of unguided bombs dropped from high altitude on nonmilitary targets is a violation of international human rights law. Amnesty International’s Erwin van der Borght called for the UN Security Council [official website] to “condemn in the strongest possible terms the ongoing human rights violations in the Nuba Mountains, and mandate an independent inquiry to investigate abuses committed by parties to the conflict in Southern Kordofan since 5 June.”
The UN Security Council last month called for an end to fighting [JURIST report] in South Kordofan. South Kordofan, which has been held by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) since the 2005 peace deal that stifled Sudan’s civil war, is a state in the center of Sudan, and has been a disputed territory between Sudan and South Sudan due to its oil reserves. Sudan’s army, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), took over Abyei, a district in the state, in May, causing a rebuke and demand for withdrawal [JURIST report] by the UN. The UN confirmed reports of bombing and shelling in and around Abyei by the SAF, as well as widespread looting and burning of houses. Aid workers estimate 40,000 people have fled the area [BBC report]. While the UN has said that attacks on its peacekeepers amount to war crimes under international law, both the UN and the US have called on the northern troops to withdraw from Abyei. From the northern capital of Khartoum President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] has stated he will not withdraw troops from the region and insisted that the area belongs to the north. An International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] case is open against al-Bashir and several nations have been urged to arrest him on sight including: China, Malaysia, Djibouti, Kenya and Chad [JURIST reports].