Justice for June 3 crackdown that left more than 120 people dead delayed in Sudan

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Sudan’s transitional government has yet to deliver justice to victims and families a year after more than 120 people were killed and hundreds injured and abused in a violent attack on protesters in Khartoum, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.

The government’s investigation committee is to deliver its findings to the attorney general in coming weeks.

“One year on, victims of the bloody crackdown have heard many promises but are yet to see any form of accountability,” said Jehanne Henry, East Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The investigating committee’s final report should be made public to ensure full transparency. And the attorney general’s office should prosecute those responsible, even if they are members of the ruling sovereign council.”

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After popular protests forced the longtime president, Omar al-Bashir, to step down on April 11, 2019, a transitional military council took power. But protesters continued to gather, amid tense negotiations between military and civilian groups, in a sit-in in front of the military headquarters in Khartoum, demanding a transfer of power to civilian rule.

Government security forces made several attempts to disband parts of the sit-in. In the early hours of June 3, the security forces surrounded and violently dispersed the protest, firing live ammunition directly at protesters, killing and wounding scores, and subjecting many more to harsh beatings, rapes, sexual assaults, humiliation, and other abuse. The security forces also attacked medical personnel, hospitals, and clinics.

Based on research in August 2019, Human Rights Watch said it found that at least 120 people had been killed and more than 900 injured between June 3 and 18.

Sudanese officials now estimate that at least 64 women were raped, and others sexually assaulted. Human Rights Watch concluded that the crimes and abuses against during the crackdown could qualify as crimes against humanity because they were part of a longstanding government practice of using excessive, including lethal, force against unarmed protesters.

“Justice remains a litmus test for the success of Sudan’s revolution,” Henry said. “Failure to deliver risks betraying protesters’ sacrifices and demands. The transitional government should prioritize meaningful and transparent accountability at the highest levels.”

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