Sudan. The new United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID),
jointly led by the UN and the African Union (AU), began
stationing in the troubled Darfur region in January. After
some resistance, the Sudanese government gave the peace
force full freedom of movement in the area but continued to
oppose non-African troops. Sweden and Norway therefore
withdrew their offer of a joint engineering union, and
UNAMID did not achieve the intended strength throughout the
year. In September, there were still only uniformed
personnel of just over 10,460 of the 26,000 approved by the
UN Security Council. The understaffed force, which also
suffered from a lack of heavy equipment, thus had limited
opportunities to protect the population in the vast area,
where the fighting continued, and in February more than
50,000 people left homeless.
Countryaah reports, Sweden's former Foreign Minister Jan Eliasson and
Tanzanian Salim Ahmed Salim left the missions as UN and AU
special envoys for Darfur at the end of the year and were
replaced by Burkina Faso's Foreign Minister Djibril Bassolé,
who represents both organizations.
After five years of conflict, with mutual accusations of
support for rebel groups, Sudan and Chad made peace in
March. The peace agreement was questioned because no rebels
were involved, and as early as May Sudan broke diplomatic
relations with Chad after a rebel attack on the outskirts of
the capital Khartoum. Over a couple of days, more than 200
people were killed before the army fought back the attack.
Several trials were carried out during the autumn against
arrested members of the daredevil rebel force JEM (the
Movement for Justice and Equality) and a total of 50 people
were sentenced to death.
Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo of the International
Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in July indicted Sudan's
President Omar al-Bashir for genocide, crimes against
humanity and war crimes in Darfur and demanded that an
international arrest warrant be issued. The decision sparked
strong anger in Sudan, whose government said it would block
all attempts to extradite al-Bashir. The AU also felt that
the decision risked making a solution to the conflict
In November, al-Bashir announced a ceasefire in Darfur
and announced that the militias would begin to disarm. It
was uncertain what effect the order would have and if it was
just an attempt by the president to win international
sympathy in the conflict with the ICC.
Moreno-Ocampo also announced in November that he had
launched a preliminary investigation against two rebel
leaders in Darfur for the 2007 murders of ten AU soldiers.
An unresolved issue in the hitherto annexed conflict
between northern and southern Sudan caught fire during the
year. Despite a previous agreement on joint governance in
the disputed, oil-rich area of Abyei, the south side in
March appointed one of their own as the district
administrator. The north side responded with reinforcements
in the area and in May, fighting broke out. Nearly 90 people
were killed, over 50,000 fled and UN evacuated personnel.
After peace negotiations, the parties again agreed to
jointly govern the area and in addition to ask the Permanent
Arbitration Tribunal in The Hague to unravel the border
between northern and southern Sudan in the region.
Significant oil resources are at stake in the conflict.
In April, work began on a nationwide census; of vital
importance for the referendum to be carried out in the south
of the 2005 peace agreement in 2011 on possible
independence. However, the work was bordered on the south by
distrust of the north side's intentions and major practical