SUDAN LIBERATION MOVEMENT/ARMY (SLM/A-AW) FORMAL STATEMENT OF NON-COMPLIANCE WITH THE SUDANESE STATE TRANSITIONAL AGREEMENT, DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES, NATIONAL SITUATIONAL ASSESSMENT AND TERMS FOR FUTURE CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND DIALOGUE
🔴DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES & NATIONAL SITUATIONAL ASSESSMENT
Speaking in one voice as a unified resistance in an enduring unmet struggle for freedom, the leadership of the Sudan Liberation Movement and Sudan Liberation Army on behalf of all the oppressed peoples of Sudan who have yet to see justice done, with profound sadness and righteous anger that the will of the people has once more been betrayed , categorically rejects the interim agreement and Constitutional Declaration reached between the Transitional Military Council and the factions that make up the so called Forces of Freedom and Change, as patently illegitimate and exclusionary. We therefore do not recognize the authority of the unsovereign Sovereign Council, the newly appointed Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, President, Army General Abdallah Fattah al Burhan nor his deputy, Rapid Support Forces commander, General Mohamad Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemeti.
Pained though we are, we do so with crystalline clarity of vision, steadfast moral principle and unyielding purpose, as we adhere to an unwavering commitment to genuine democratization, the return of full civilian governance, freedom of thought, speech and assembly, the rule of law, the restoration of civil and human rights, an impartial and non-discriminatory judicial system, socio-economic justice, accountability for enduring institutional racism, ongoing war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the regime, a scorched earth policy that constitutes egregious breaches of both international and national laws and too many atrocities and humanitarian violations of the body and spirit to list here, long inflicted on the civilian populations of Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile State and since June in Khartoum, Omdurman and other cities and towns across Sudan.
We unequivocally decry the state of impunity now better enabled and formalized by what can be best described as a constitutional civil-military coup d’etat, engineered by the successors to the old dictatorship and to our dismay abetted by the African Union, shielded now by a cosmetic veneer of legitimacy that is little more than political theater, as false and insincere as the hollow peace process that took place before, we also consistently refused, while others expediently sold off their principles and took the fallen tyrant Omar al Bashir’s coin, while pretending they were in the vanguard of change, as so many still do now, desperate for relevancy, unaware they are ghosts of the obsolete former body politic, their day come and gone, a presence no longer applicable to the desires of the vast majority of the nation. We reject the living past and the creation of a new ossified state and will only accept a true pathway to a better tomorrow.
Thirty years of dictatorship, sixteen years of slaughter, state sponsored terror, torture, rape, arbitrary imprisonment, disastrous kleptocracy, endemic corruption, widespread hunger, a dysfunctional national infrastructure, crushing poverty, socioeconomic stagnation and segregation, the overwhelming weight of these collective burdens punctuated by six hundred thousand dead and untold empty promises, has sharpened our awareness of injustice to a fine edge. A brutal militarism allied to a backward reactionary Islamist brand of fascism cloaked in the superficial trappings of civilian rule, ensuring the preservation of a Sudanese form of Apartheid, where a privileged entitled minority that regards itself as racially and culturally superior, together with its compromised elitist cohorts in Khartoum, seeks to perpetuate a structure that keeps a nation on its knees, can hardly be mistaken for progress and liberation.
The accord reached between the TMC and FFC is simply another new variant of a civilian rubber stamp for the soldiers, paramilitaries, secret policemen and their water carriers who wield the true power in Sudan, exemplified by the repeat appearance of many of the same compromised political parties and interest groups that helped legitimize al Bashir with the semblance of civilian governance, that are to true democracy, what the Sudanese Air Force’s constant aerial bombardments of civilian areas inhabited by their own citizens, were to peace negotiations ostensibly carried out in good faith.
And when the proud and mighty women of Sudan, who have suffered such indignities for so long and with such courage have stood in the forefront of the revolution, neither will they misread the violent misogyny imposed upon them as the tender embrace of freedom. Neither will our students and young people of both sexes as much a core element driving the transformation Sudan yearns for, understand closed doors, unchanging cronyism and nepotism or a blocked future as the fulfillment of their dreams.
Nor will our devoted freedom fighters on the battlefield, fighting with little more than their courage, who witnessed the wholesale massacre of civilians and the indiscriminate shelling, bombing and even chemical warfare unleashed on their villages and the routine murder of the wretched populations in the Internally Displaced People’s camps already ravaged by disease, malnutrition and a dearth of the most basic necessities of life on the brink of survival, ever misunderstand the true nature and conduct of Hemeti and his RSF former Janjaweed militia death squads or the sectors of the state military, intelligence and security apparatus that continue to brutalize their people in an endless pogrom, by confusing any of them for protectors, as Hemeti disingenuously now seeks to rebrand them. Cold blooded killers cannot be disguised merely through the use of semantics and we know too well precisely who they are. And when the dungeons of Khartoum where the savages of the National Intelligence and Security Service rip bodies and souls apart so casually remain open for business and thousands are still missing in their grip, this is a portent of democracy?
We are confident the bulk of the population concurs with us or we would not be so adamant and we brace ourselves for the struggle yet ahead because we have not abandoned our sacred pledge to free the people of Sudan, all the people of Sudan who suffer needlessly, not just a few who kowtow to the new regime that is little changed from the old order and decidedly worse for pretending they are now bringers of light. The SLM/A-AW will only engage in negotiations if the following conditions and terms are met for the well being of all Sudanese people and the true aspirations of a nation still held captive, are answered in demonstrably tangible form. Nothing else will suffice and if we are not allowed to participate freely in the steps we put forth, the response of the interim government will be clear. We also clarify that the conditions we elucidate here are only the beginning of a far greater reform process we envision for the nation, which far and exceeds what has been stated here in complexity. There is too much to be done to be contained in just this document but we regard our terms as an initial, viable, rational and just framework to build on and to build confidence with. We cannot in good conscience advance to negotiations if these terms so self-evidently elemental to the first page turning of the resurrection of the nation, are not met.
TERMS & CONDITIONS FOR CONFLICT RESOLUTION DIALOGUE
We call for preparations for a national plebiscite to be undertaken immediately for a free and transparent vote under international observation, to take place sixty days from now. We demand that all Sudanese in every city, every town, every state and all IDP camps be allowed to vote without fear of coercion or physical harm and that all polling stations and voting procedures be subject to international observation and that the safety of the observers be guaranteed. Provisions should also be ensured for every member of the Diaspora population to also be able to participate in the plebiscite from abroad. We equally demand that counting the votes of the national plebiscite also be subject to international observation to ensure fraudulent practices are avoided. The intended national plebiscite would pose only three questions.
The first of these is for the population to vote YES or NO on the continuation of the interim government under the terms the Constitutional Declaration has stipulated agreed by the TMC and FFC. Given the national plebiscite vote results in a clear rejection of the interim government, we demand the interim governing body be dismantled no later than one month from the final count of the plebiscite.
The second plebiscite question is for the national population to vote YES or NO on the complete withdrawal of the regular Armed Forces and RSF from governance and the dissolution of the TMC as a preliminary step to return to full civilian rule. Given the national plebiscite rejects the presence of the TMC, we stipulate the TMC itself be disbanded immediately after the final result of the vote.
The third question of the plebiscite will logically present a YES or NO mandate on a full return to civilian rule where voters voice their choice for a transparent national election for a new solely civilian led national government to take place under similar safeguards and international oversight as stipulated for the plebiscite, thirty days after the dissolution of the Sovereign Council.
Thus elections would be underway ninety days after the initial plebiscite vote and following the final result of the vote, the displaced interim government would be granted no more than a month long extension in power simply to oversee a smooth handover of power to genuine popular sovereignty and the will of the people being respected, with the precondition as stated above that only civilian leadership preside over the final weeks of the interim government, so that the new truly sovereign civilian democratic national government that follows is established and empowered roughly one hundred and twenty days from the plebiscite vote. Upon the conclusion of the national election, we demand as a key adjunct measure to this process that sixty days later following the national election, unprecedented state elections take place in every Sudanese state and that governors will no longer be appointed by presidential decree and instead that their political authority reflects a democratic popular mandate in the context of constitutional reforms to come, including the formation of state assemblies with local representatives serving as local parliaments, so that a federal Sudan enjoys a more equitable balance and distribution of power between the national and local level, the absence of which has typified the conduct of dictatorship seizing all political power.
We demand that throughout the timeframe of these evolutionary steps towards democracy, the political landscape be open to a plurality of new political parties to emerge and that the political sphere not be restricted to the parties of the old order alone, so that from the outset of the plebiscite vote, new parties may declare themselves and be legally recognized and that independent political candidates may also step forth with no party affiliation. We demand that this include candidates from the Progressive Reform Party, the new civic party to emerge from the SLM/A-AW to participate in a peaceful political process in the intended transition we envision and in the future for an enduring post-conflict period.
The RSF and regular armed forces contingents, NISS operatives and their associated militias and paramilitaries must withdraw from Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile States and cease all offensive action against the civilian population; this includes the withdrawal of all combat aircraft and heavy weaponry. The only state security forces to remain on the ground should be exclusively restricted to civil police under strict supervision to not use lethal force against the civil population. This procedure must all also be subject to international observation as with the plebiscite and new national elections by delegations from neutral international bodies. As a logical concurrent step with this measure we demand the embargo on humanitarian supplies to Darfur and the Two Areas be immediately lifted and that free access be granted to both local and international NGOs to carry out humanitarian and relief work without hindrance or fear of reprisal. Ethnic cleansing operations must cease and all civilians expelled from their ancestral lands must be guaranteed safe passage and the right of return without fear of reprisal.
3) Former President Omar al Bashir must be transferred for trial to the International Criminal Court at the Hague in the Netherlands to at last face justice for his indictments for Crimes Against Humanity, Genocide and War Crimes, forthwith. All other regime figures implicated in war crimes must also face transfer the ICC to face international law. As many others from the armed forces, NISS and other segments of the defense and state security apparatus, not least the RSF continue to enjoy both national and international immunity from prosecution, to ensure accountability, we demand that an independent national war crimes tribunal be created forthwith, with international oversight and ideally linked to the ICC, fully drawn from independent Sudanese legal experts, investigators and jurists, to collate the body of evidence and carry out fresh investigations without hindrance, necessary to bring forth prosecution internally. We insist this body be allowed to carry out its work without fear of reprisal and that all internal government records be open to scrutiny without interference. We equally demand that nobody be immune from prosecution and investigation, to include General Abdalah Fattah al Burhan and General Hemeti themselves who cannot escape accountability for all the atrocities perpetrated under their command and personal direction. As an adjunct task we demand an independent special commission on the disappeared also be created forthwith, again under international observation and ideally with international help to investigate all those still missing including the over one hundred victims from the June 3rd massacre still unaccounted for and a thorough forensics investigation and mapping of all extra-judicial mass murder and mass grave sites and for all of this data to be held in a national war crimes archive.
4) We demand that all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience be freed forthwith.
5) We demand that the death penalty be abolished in light of all the extra-judicial state sanctioned killings that have taken place and with the legal reforms to come we seek to build a more humane justice system from, we demand an independent national legal reform body be created to revitalize the legal codes of the nation to better ensure civil and human rights are no longer violated and miscarriages of justice cease to be so common. This body post-national election would also make recommendations on the replacement of Sudanese jurists and other judiciary and law enforcement officials that have been compromised by their illegal and immoral conduct in the service of dictatorship and they too face dismissal, investigation, trial and prosecution
6) We demand an independent national anti-corruption commission be formed once more with international observation and also aid if possible to investigate all malfeasance in government ranks and the civil and military sectors closely linked to corrupt practices, where this body will also delve deeply into the financial records of all existing government officials and be able to conduct its own unhindered investigations and then refer them for trial and prosecution, to include involvement in human trafficking and the illicit gold trade so prevalent in the ranks of the RSF.
7) We call for the creation of an independent national commission for armed forces reform to carry out a preliminary study that envisions a new force composed both of freedom fighters and members of the armed forces committed to democratic change not implicated in atrocities against the civilian population to start planning for a post-conflict renewal of national defense forces to integrate former combatants from both sides in a spirit of reconciliation and to formulate new defense policies that are geared towards external defense, regional peacekeeping, international humanitarian missions, support to civil authority in disaster relief and counter-extremism operations and not for internal suppression of our own population. We would see this is as a rational good faith measure , though we grasp the concrete work to be done can only come post a genuine national election and the establishment of a democratic government, but the inability to address this issue would be a clear sign peace is not viable with the interim government, together with all the other valid indictors we have presented for a just dialogue for conflict resolution.
8) The RSF must be disbanded and all the foreign mercenaries within its ranks must be expelled. All foreign military presence within Sudan not mandated by the UN and AU is an affront and violation of Sudanese sovereignty and this must be terminated.
9) Freedom of the press and freedom of speech and freedom of assembly must be codified and guaranteed by law immediately.
10) We call for an independent national commission on truth and reconciliation to be formed on the South African model in the struggle against Apartheid, where all testimony of the gravest pages and deeds perpetrated in our country’s history during thirty years of dictatorship will be openly aired.
11) We demand that an independent national commission on restitution and reparations be formed to compensate all the victims of government atrocities, their survivors and dependents and all those displaced by state sponsored terror and genocide, all who endured torture, rape and wrongful imprisonment and dispossession of their lands, with a clear sum of funding appropriate to the offenses committed to restore their well being and promote development. This should include an educational and welfare fund for all the war orphans the regime has created.
12) We demand an independent national commission be formed to oversee national police reform.
13) We demand an independent national commission be formed to oversee national intelligence services reform and that the NISS be disbanded forthwith.
14) We demand that an independent national commission on chemical weapons demobilization and chemical warfare be formed forthwith with international observation and that all chemical weapons stocks be destroyed and banned by law from ever again forming part of the Sudanese Armed Forces’ arsenal, that the state commits to never more using weapons of mass destruction on its own population and that all official records of chemical weapons use be available for public dissemination and form part of the body of evidence for scrutiny by the intended national war crimes commission and that such evidence also be freely available to the ICC.
Abdul Wahid al Nur, Chairman Sudan Liberation Movement & Commander in Chief Sudan Liberation Army