El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, end of April (Courtesy photo)

US says warring parties in Sudan committed war crimes

The United States has officially determined that warring parties in Sudan committed war crimes, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, as the international community increases pressure on the army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to end fighting.

The United States has officially determined that warring parties in Sudan committed war crimes, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, as the international community increases pressure on the army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to end fighting.

Washington also determined that the RSF and allied militias committed crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, Mr Blinken said in a statement on Wednesday.

The fighting, which broke out in mid-April, has displaced more than 6.5 million inside and outside Sudan, killed more than 10,000 and damaged the economy.

“The expansion of the needless conflict between RSF and the SAF has caused grievous human suffering,” Mr Blinken said, referring to the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF).

He called on the parties to “stop this conflict now, comply with their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law, and hold accountable those responsible for atrocities”.

The RSF has been accused of leading an ethnic massacre in West Darfur, and in the capital Khartoum residents have accused the paramilitary force of looting, rape and imprisoning civilians.

“Masalit civilians have been hunted down and left for dead in the streets, their homes set on fire, and told that there is no place in Sudan for them,” Mr Blinken said.

The Masalit are a non-Arab tribe.

Meanwhile, the army has carried out an intense campaign of air and artillery strikes on residential neighborhoods, where the RSF has occupied, which experts say could be violations of international law.

“Detainees have been abused and some killed at SAF and RSF detention sites,” Mr Blinken added.

The formal determination comes after Saudi and US-brokered talks aimed at halting fighting between Sudan’s warring parties faltered again, and the country’s army and the RSF have pressed on with military campaigns.

The United States has imposed several rounds of sanctions after the war between the army and the RSF broke out in April over plans for a political transition and the integration of the RSF into the army, four years after long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in a popular uprising.

Among those targeted have been the deputy leader of the RSF, former Sudanese officials and companies Washington has accused of fueling the conflict.

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