Protesters Demand Justice on Second Anniversary of Deadly Crackdown

Thousands of Sudanese civilians held rallies in Khartoum on the second anniversary of the military’s bloody crackdown on a huge pro-democracy sit-in, demanding justice for their loved ones killed during and after the June 3, 2019, crackdown. Some said they are tired of hearing promises from government officials after nothing has been done and no one has been brought to justice.

Waleed Ihab of Omdurman said that ever since security forces shot him in the leg during the crackdown, he has suffered in pain and has received no compensation from the government.

He told South Sudan in Focus that the transitional government is weak and should hand over power to others.

“This government doesn’t represent us anymore. That is why we are demanding for them to leave. Justice has not been served for our loved ones and the ongoing deteriorating economy in the country. They are unable to solve anything,” Ihab said.

The military’s crackdown on the sit-in in Khartoum and other protests around the country occurred several weeks after the military ousted longtime President Omar al-Bashir. At least 120 people were killed, and dozens of others were wounded.

Last month, Sudanese soldiers killed two peaceful protesters and wounded 37 others who were commemorating the same event on the 29th day of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Zainab Abdeen said her family was traumatized after security forces shot and killed her brother Osman Abdeen on the day of the sit-in. She said family members tried pursuing the case in local courts but have been disappointed in Sudan’s justice system. The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, may be their only avenue for justice, she said.

“We are tired of this situation, and we are now planning to seek international intervention,” Abdeen told South Sudan in Focus.

Protester Najat Yousif Hamid, 20, cradled a picture of her older brother Hamad, who was killed by security forces in 2019 in Khartoum.

Hamid said the government has failed to achieve the objectives of the revolution.

“Freedom has not yet been achieved. We don’t see justice and the country has not experienced any peace. Since they stayed in power for two years and did nothing about these issues, they must go,” Hamid told South Sudan in Focus.

Nabil Adeeb, who heads a Sudanese investigative panel looking into the crackdown, said that two years after the crimes were committed, his office still lacks the necessary technical and human resources it needs to complete the investigation.

“We need technical assistance with the criminal laboratory for verification. We need to review the video footage and audio from that day. We also need expertise in exhuming graves and the specialized tools for that, and we need to examine the bodies to know the cause and time of death,” Adeeb told South Sudan in Focus.

Chapter 2 of Sudan’s constitutional charter states that the government must “form a national independent investigation committee … to conduct a transparent, detailed investigation of violations committed on June 3rd, 2019, and events and incidents where violations of the rights and dignity of civilians and military citizens were committed.”

The investigation is complex, involving multiple crimes that include killings, rapes and aggravated assaults, and some security agencies have not been cooperative, Adeeb said.

“The economic situation is not good right now, so not all the necessary resources can be availed,” Adeeb said.

In a Thursday statement, the Washington-based think tank Freedom House said it “stands in solidarity with the victims and survivors of the June 3rd massacre” and called for the “prompt conclusion” to the investigation, which it said should be shared with the public.

Freedom House adviser Quscondy Abdulshafi says a lack of resources is not a strong reason for what he calls the “failure” of Adeeb’s team to deliver justice.

“The event was documented by different media, including … aired live by Al-Jazeera TV with a hidden camera, so this is a very well-documented crime that happened in front of millions,” Abdulshafi told VOA. The military’s lack of cooperation is a “strong obstacle” to achieving justice, he said.

The head of Sudan’s sovereign council, General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and the head of Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, “are solely responsible,” Abdulshafi said, as they were in charge of “the whole security sector” when the attack happened.

He said Adeeb must communicate openly and transparently to the Sudanese people about how the investigation is going and report the names of those who are obstructing it.

Despite a few incidents of violence and the use of tear gas, Thursday’s protests were mostly peaceful, according to Abdulshafi.

Source: Voice of America