Justice & Equality Movement Sudan (JEM)
Report of the Panel of Experts on the Sudan established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005)
Submitted to UNSC, February 2013.
A response from JEM:
JEM notes with extreme disappointment the composition of the above-named Panel of Expert, its method of investigation and the haphazard conclusion that is not from the contents of the Report.
Whether we like it or not, the Darfur crisis would intricately connected with the Arab-non-Arab divide in the Sudan and the regional expansion of Arab frontiers in Africa. As such, inclusion of four experts, originally from Arab countries was indeed ill thought. Of the five experts, Issa Maraut, Rania El Ra, Mohammed Al Omari, Rania El Rajji and Ghassan Schbley Expert are of Arab origin, the same divide that the government of Sudan claims to favour and on the bases of which has gained substantial support in Arab countries.
In particular, Issa Maraut has been notorious for his enmity to JEM, a stance that featured very strongly in all our meetings with him. JEM maintains that his very presence damages neutrality of the Report.
The Report gives a rosy picture of the Doha agreement even though that is not corroborated by information contained in the Report. To date, neither Tigani Seisei, nor his Doha Agreement overseers are able to visit a single IDP camp. The Report repeats the fiasco of Abuja Agreement and where the UN continued supporting it while everyone knew it was dead.
Despite acknowledgement of continuation of massive violence, mass rapes, aerial bombardment, the Report still gives an indication of progress in Darfur. Again this finding is not supported by contents of the work, it is hard not take it a result of influence of government officials who hosted the Panel members.
With regard to JEM, the Report states: “It appears that, in 2012, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) operated a large base for around 800 armed fighters inside South Sudan at a location near Bentiu, Unity State. The Panel has also received multiple testimonies that another JEM base functioned within the territory of South Sudan, notably at Timshaha in Western Bahr el-Ghazal State.”
The claim of presence of JEM forces in South Sudan as indicated above is simply false. The Report itself says “it appears that…”. This is simply not good enough for a Report of this magnitude and the term “appears” is not sufficiently definitive to elevate the claim to a fact status. Moreover, the Experts should have visited the site and establish the presence of JEM on first hand terms. After all, South Sudan is different from North Sudan and there is no restriction on mobility of Panel members in the country.
The Report seemed to have spent considerable effort tracing mobility of some relatively insignificant actors in the conflict but steered free of others who are more important like Al-Bashir, Abdel Rahim Hussein and others.
The UN Experts Report seems to have gone astray in its endeavours to find the right source for gathering intelligence information. In that, the main sources of the report are former JEM splinter groups the Panel met in the Qatari capital Doha and along with Mohammed Bahar whom the Experts reported, they met in France. Here, neutrality went unheeded.
The Report’s bias towards the National Congress Party regime and double standards of the authors of the Report remains clear and explicit. In that, the Report lends praise to the cooperation of the Khartoum government without highlighting its role in the deprivation of arrival of humanitarian relief to the survivors of the regime’s aerial bombardment.
Gibreel Adam Bilal
Secretary for Media & Spokesperson (JEM)