Appendix: THE DARFUR GENOCIDE AT TEN YEARS: A Reckoning, 19 April 2013 .
A compendium of observations by the UN Panel of Experts on Darfur (including all excerpts reporting on white or otherwise disguised aircraft and ground vehicles); all reports available from Small Arms Survey:
• DECEMBER 2005, Report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to paragraph 3 of resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan (S/2005/65)—excerpts:
Implementation of the arms embargo
The Panel received information from several sources describing the use of recently imported white vehicles and white aircraft by the Sudanese armed forces in Darfur. The African Union (AU) has voiced its concern regarding the use of white vehicles to the Government of the Sudan on a number of occasions on the basis that the use of such vehicles could lead to misidentification of vehicles of the AU Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) by parties to the conflict in Darfur. This practice also presents a grave threat to humanitarian agencies, including those of the United Nations system, operating in Darfur.
Military vehicles—white vehicles
§119. The Panel received information from several sources describing the recent use of white vehicles and white aircraft by the Sudanese armed forces in Darfur. The Panel has been provided with photographic evidence of the use of white vehicles by Government of the Sudan forces (see figure 6 below) and indeed one member of the Panel witnessed a convoy of three white Land Cruiser vehicles, with mounted machine guns, operating in El-Fasher on the morning of 26 November 2005 and another Panel member witnessed a white Land Cruiser with machine-gun mount in Nyala on the evening of 13 November 2005. The African Union has voiced its concern regarding the use of white vehicles to the Government of the Sudan on a number of occasions on the basis that the use of such vehicles could lead to misidentification of AMIS vehicles by parties to the conflict in Darfur. This practice also presents a grave threat to humanitarian agencies, including those of the United Nations system, operating in Darfur.
Use of white vehicles by Sudanese armed forces
§162. As stated in paragraphs 119 and 120 above, the use of white vehicles and white aircraft, in a deliberate attempt to reduce the distinction between AU/AMIS or United Nations vehicles and those of parties to the conflict, represents an impediment to the freedom of movement and safety of AU/AMIS and United Nations personnel, and hence constitutes an impediment to the peace process.
• APRIL 2006, Second report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to paragraph 3 of resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan (S/2006/795)—excerpts:
§43. The Panel received photographic evidence of an unmarked Antonov A12 aircraft at the Geneina airfield on 20 February 2006 (see fig. 1). Sudanese armed forces personnel are visible in close proximity to the aircraft. Eyewitnesses at the airfield observed Government of the Sudan armed forces offloading supplies from the aircraft, but it has not been possible to determine the nature of those supplies. The aircraft has also been observed, on a separate occasion, delivering fuel (in barrels) to military attack helicopters stationed at Geneina.
§44. In addition, the Government of the Sudan continues to use white aircraft similar to those used by AMIS, the United Nations and some international non- governmental organizations (see fig. 2). While the use of white and unmarked aircraft is not prohibited, the transfer of such aircraft into Darfur for military use constitutes a violation of the arms embargo. It is also an impediment to the peace process, as the practice of using white vehicles and unmarked aircraft presents a real danger for the peacekeeping forces and humanitarian organizations operating in Darfur.
Figure 2, Mi-8 helicopter with Sudanese armed forces registration number and AMIS being erased
§45. The Panel has evidence that the Government of the Sudan leased at least one Mi-8 helicopter from a local leasing company of foreign origin. This ‘white’ helicopter has been at the centre of controversy, as it was reported to be previously leased by AMIS and was later leased to the Government of the Sudan with the AMIS sign still affixed (as shown in fig. 2). The continued use of unmarked and/or white helicopters for military use indicates reluctance on the part of the Government to seriously consider the threat this action poses for the United Nations and AMIS.
§46. On several occasions SLA and NMRD operatives have threatened to shoot down any white helicopters, including United Nations and AMIS helicopters, that fly over certain areas in Darfur. They claim this is in response to the Government’s practice of using white helicopters similar to those used by the United Nations and AMIS. This situation has led to at least one incident where United Nations pilots had to take evasive action to avoid bullets fired from the ground, reportedly by members of SLA. The Panel judges that those threats and hostile acts by the rebel group constitute an impediment to the humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts in Darfur and thus an impediment to the peace process.
• AUGUST 2006, Report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan prepared in accordance with paragraph 2 of resolution 1665 (2006) (S/2006/795)—excerpts:
The Government of the Sudan continues to use unmarked white aircraft and vehicles in Darfur. Under the terms of article 24 of the Darfur Peace Agreement, any attempt by a party to disguise its equipment, personnel or activities as those of the African Union Mission in the Sudan, United Nations agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent or any other similar organization is prohibited.
§85. In addition, the Government of the Sudan continues to use white aircraft similar to those used by AMIS, the United Nations and some international non- governmental organizations.
§101. The Panel visited the port and witnessed a large consignment of imported Land Rovers, painted off-white (see fig. 6). Similar vehicles were been seen by the Panel in Darfur, being used by NGOs and aid agencies. There are also unconfirmed reports of the use of such white-painted vehicles in Darfur by the Government of the Sudan and other Janjaweed/militias supported by it to camouflage them as NGO vehicles.
§138. On 27 July 2006, between 0830 and 0900 hours a white helicopter circled the village of Tabra near Tawila three times, at low altitude. It was confirmed that this was neither an AMIS nor a United Nations helicopter and is, therefore, deemed to be an offensive overflight.
§169. On 24 April, the Sudanese armed forces accompanied by a large militia force, attacked Joghana, a town held by SLM/A. The attack started at 0700 hours and continued until 1400 hours. The Government of the Sudan forces comprised soldiers on Land Cruisers with mounted 12.7-mm light machine guns. The militia were on camels and horses. The ground forces were supported by two Sudanese armed forces Mi-24 helicopters and a white Antonov aircraft. Unconfirmed reports indicated that the Antonov dropped six bombs on the town during the attack.
§201. On 30 June 2006, Panel members travelling by UNMIS helicopter visited Umm Sidr, a position in Northern Darfur held by the G19. During discussions with some of the rebel leaders, soldiers and villagers, at about 1200 hours they observed an unmarked white Antonov aircraft circling the area for approximately 45 minutes. The villagers and rebel leaders told the Panel that it was a Government of the Sudan military aircraft, painted white to camouflage as a United Nations or AMIS aircraft, that such intimidating overflights were a regular occurrence in their area, and that they felt threatened as the aircraft often came close to the ground. The Panel members noted the location of the place on the GPS monitor at 25° 09′ 15″ East and 14° 25′ 23″ North.
§205. The Panel members made enquiries with UNMIS and AMIS officials, who categorically denied that any of their aircraft had circled over Umm Sidr on that day. An AU official, however, gave information about the existence of six white aircraft being used by the Government of the Sudan. Similar reports about the use of white aircraft have been received from other sources. Such a practice poses a grave threat to humanitarian agencies, the United Nations and AMIS operating in the Darfur region. This could lead to misidentification and possible engagement of aircraft by rebel forces. The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs recently said that this was again a violation of international principles and posed a direct threat to the United Nations and non-governmental organization staff who travel on the white helicopters that are neutral, impartial and should not be attacked.
§206. In its comments on the Panel’s previous report, the Government of the Sudan stated that it does not have any white fixed-wing aircraft and that all its aircraft bear logos or emblems. In the same document, however, the Government did admit to using white helicopters for the transport of officials and tribal leaders attending reconciliation meetings, but not for any military purposes.
Figure 9, Unmarked white Antonov aircraft at El-Fasher airport on 7 August 2006
§207. Contrary to the claim of the Government of the Sudan, on 7 August, the Panel saw one white Antonov aircraft stationed at the El-Fasher airport bearing two numbers: one on its tail (7705) and another on its body (26563) (see fig. 9). The aircraft did not bear any emblem or logo. Since the aircraft was guarded by the Sudanese Armed Forces, it is believed to be a Government of the Sudan aircraft.
Figure 10, Second unmarked white Antonov aircraft landing at El-Fasher airport on 7 August 2006
§208. The Panel saw another white Antonov aircraft bearing the letters ST ZZZ on its body, which landed at the El-Fasher airport at about 1030 hours on 7 August (see fig. 10). This aircraft also did not bear any emblem or logo.
§209. The Panel is convinced that the Government of the Sudan is in possession of and is using white aircraft but gave false and misleading information to the United Nations.
§213. The Government of the Sudan continues to use unmarked white fixed-wing aircraft for aerial reconnaissance missions and hostile or offensive military overflights.
• OCTOBER 2007, Report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan prepared in accordance with paragraph 2 of resolution 1713 (2006) (S/2007/584)—excerpts:
Offensive military overflights
From September 2006 to June 2007, the Government of the Sudan conducted offensive military overflights in Darfur, which included aerial bombardments by Antonov aircraft, aerial attacks by Mi-24 attack helicopters and the use of air assets for military surveillance. Sixty-six such aerial attacks were reported during that period, of which 24 were confirmed definitively. The overall frequency of such has been on the decline since April 2007, likely as a result of the progress made in pre-negotiation consultations involving the non-signatory factions and the increased international focus on the role of white aircraft in conducting offensive military operations. There were no reported aerial attacks in the month of July.
Individuals who impede the peace process and who commit violations of international humanitarian and human rights law
NRF and SLA/MM have actively targeted personnel of the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) in Darfur, and the extensive use of white aircraft by the Government of the Sudan, including the use of white Antonov aircraft in some of the 66 aerial attacks catalogued by the Panel between September 2006 and July 2007, constitutes a serious obstruction to the work of AMIS and the United Nations. In one instance the Panel found that the Government of the Sudan had used a white Antonov aircraft with “UN” markings in offensive military overflights.
§187. The Panel has gathered a significant body of information on acts that impede or frustrate the mission/operations of the United Nations, AMIS or the African Union Ceasefire Commission. Those acts include direct attacks on AMIS assets and personnel; obstruction of United Nations humanitarian operations; and the use of white aircraft by the Government of the Sudan.
Use of white aircraft by the Government of the Sudan
§200. The Panel has observed and recorded in Darfur the use of white aircraft (fixed- and rotary-wing) by the Government of the Sudan. The Panel has attempted to track two white Antonov aircraft being used for military purposes by the Government of the Sudan in Darfur, as well as white helicopters. The first of these aircraft is identified as an SAF aircraft bearing the registration number 7705. A second white Antonov aircraft, operated by SAF in Darfur, bears the registration number ST-ZZZ.
SAF aircraft registration 7705 and use of white aircraft with “UN” markings by the Government of the Sudan
§201. The Panel observed a white AN-26 aircraft parked on the military apron at El Fasher Airport on 7 March 2007, next to what is believed, on the basis of photographic and expert analysis and comparison to field evidence from earlier bombings, to be rows of bombs guarded by SAF soldiers (see fig. 20). This aircraft had “UN” markings on the upper aspect of its port (left) wing. The use of white aircraft bearing “UN” markings in Darfur by the Government of the Sudan was reported to the Committee in a dedicated case report on 10 March 2007 (reference: 1591P/M4-3/0307). The aircraft also had the numbers 26563 on its fuselage. The number 26563, with the country prefix deleted, is confirmed through correspondence as having originated in the Russian Federation. The number 7705 on the forward fuselage and tail is the Government of the Sudan registration number. The Panel confirmed with the Government of Kazakhstan (whose civil aviation aircraft use the prefix “UN”) that there has never been an aircraft registered UN-26563 in Kazakhstan. The Panel obtained documentation from the Russian Federation (whose civil aviation aircraft use the prefix “RA”) that an AN-26 aircraft registered RA-26563, with the serial number 3506, was sold to AZZA Transport in the Sudan in March 2004.
§202. The Government of the Republic of the Sudan submitted a letter to the Security Council Committee dated 12 April 2007 in response to two previous letters from the Committee regarding violations of Security Council resolution 1591 (2005). That letter acknowledged that the white aircraft bearing registration number 7705 is indeed an aircraft of the Government of the Sudan. This was confirmed in meetings that the Panel held with representatives of SAF in El Fasher and Khartoum. The Government of the Sudan stated in its letter that it “has never been the case [that the aircraft was for use in military activity in Darfur] … and … that it is an ordinary transport aircraft ….”
§203. Through its field investigations, interviews and recording of eyewitness accounts the Panel has established that the Government of the Republic of the Sudan has used white Antonov aircraft—most likely originally intended as commercial/civilian-use aircraft—in military operations since March 2005. For example, in a meeting with the Western Military Area Commander, Mohamed al-Tahir al-Aharif, in El Fasher in early May 2007, the Western Military Area Commander stated that white Antonov aircraft had been used to drop bombs on one occasion: on 7 October 2006. When the Panel requested clarification of this admission from SAF Central Command in Khartoum (on 20 May 2007), the Western Military Area Commander said that he originally meant that the Antonov aircraft were used for military reconnaissance, not aerial bombardments. In either case, these statements contradict the assertions of the Government of the Sudan in its letter to the Committee.
§204. Eyewitness statements gathered by the Panel of Experts confirm the use of white Antonov aircraft in conducting aerial bombardments. For example, between 19 and 30 April 2007, white Antonov aircraft were used to conduct aerial bombardments in locations in Northern Darfur (including Umm Rai). During this period, Mi-24 military attack helicopters were also employed in conducting air-to- ground strikes. The Panel visited the area of Umm Rai on 10 May 2007 and conducted its own primary investigations into the attacks.
§205. During a meeting with representatives from SAF Central Command in Khartoum on 20 May, the Panel expressed its strong interest in viewing the Government of the Sudan white Antonov aircraft registration number 7705 to confirm the “UN” markings on the upper-port wing. The representatives from SAF mentioned that the plane was in Nyala, Southern Darfur. The Panel made several attempts, through SAF and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to organize such a viewing in a convenient location, and Panel members made themselves available during a visit to Nyala between 24 and 28 May 2007 to view the aircraft. The Government of the Sudan finally facilitated inspection of the aircraft by members of the Panel of Experts in Khartoum on 27 August 2007. The Panel’s inspection of the aircraft registered No. 7705 revealed that it had recently been repainted, and any trace of registration numbers on the upper aspect of the wings had been thoroughly removed prior to repainting. The Panel was able to confirm from the aircraft’s logbook that this aircraft’s serial number is 3506, showing it to be the same aircraft as the one previously registered in the Russian Federation.
§208. The SAF aircraft bearing registration No. 7705 was observed on the military apron at the Khartoum International Airport on 21 June 2007 with the 26563 registration number and “UN” marking removed (see fig. 21).
§210. The Panel believes that the white SAF AN-26 registered ST-ZZZ currently operating in Darfur has been fraudulently marked with a civil aviation registration number apparently without the authorization of the Sudanese Civil Aviation Authority.
Use of white military helicopters by the Government of the Sudan
§211. The Panel observed two white Mi-171 helicopters stationed in Darfur in January, February and March 2007. The helicopters, numbered 528 and 533, had military registrations on the tail and SAF painted below the cockpit. Neither aircraft displayed a Sudanese flag painted on the aircraft. The Panel believes this is a method to further conceal their identity so that from a moderate distance they resemble United Nations or AMIS Mi-8 helicopters used in Darfur.
• OCTOBER 2008, Report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan (S/2008/647)—excerpts:
§19. Overland travel was severely limited in Chad and impossible in Darfur because of widespread banditry and carjacking. This was experienced first-hand by one Panel member who along with other United Nations staff was involved in a carjacking incident in El Fasher. Rebel threats to shoot down white aircraft, owing to the reported use by the Government of the Sudan of white aircraft in a military capacity, has also made travel by air more dangerous. The Panel gained first-hand experience of this as well, having been targeted and fired upon by rebel forces during a field mission using a United Nations helicopter.
SAF white aircraft
§89. In all of its reports to date the Panel has recorded the ongoing use of white aircraft in Darfur by SAF. The Panel continued to observe such activities, involving both rotary and fixed-wing aircraft, during the present mandate.
§90. Early in 2007 the Panel observed two white Mi-171 helicopters in Darfur with tail numbers 528 and 533 (see S/2007/584, para. 211). The aircraft 528, pictured in photos 13 and 14 below, has been observed flying out of El Fasher airport on multiple occasions throughout 2008. This aircraft is crewed by military pilots; almost exclusively carries military cargo and personnel; and is serviced, loaded and protected by SAF military staff in the same way as other military aircraft. A similar aircraft numbered 529 has also been reported to the Panel. SAF-operated white helicopters have been observed throughout the three States of Darfur, flying over both Government and rebel-held territory and United Nations bases.
§91. White Mi-171 helicopters operated by SAF are almost identical to white United Nations Mi-8 helicopters. The use of these SAF helicopters has resulted in the targeting of United Nations aircraft by armed groups opposed to the Government of the Sudan. This security threat is compounded by the intimidation of United Nations helicopters by SAF personnel, who have repeatedly restricted the movement of United Nations peacekeeping and humanitarian helicopters. On occasion this has even extended to threats to shoot down United Nations aircraft for alleged airspace, flight timing or security infractions. United Nations aircraft in Darfur are now clearly vulnerable to military threats from both SAF and rebel groups.
§92. The Panel gained first-hand knowledge of this threat on 11 August 2008, when a white United Nations Mi-8 helicopter transporting the Panel to the Jebel Moon area of Darfur for a verification mission was targeted and fired upon by JEM combatants. Subsequent communications with JEM on the issue revealed that the combatants on the ground had mistaken the United Nations aircraft for a Government white helicopter and as such perceived it to be a viable military target. Another United Nations Mi-8 helicopter was also targeted and fired upon that same afternoon in Western Darfur for identical reasons. On 14 September, yet another United Nations helicopter was targeted in Darfur. None of these attacks resulted in casualties.
§93. The Panel has witnessed armed groups in possession of significant military anti-aircraft capacity, including anti-aircraft guns and surface-to-air missiles. It may only be a matter of time before the purported inability to distinguish between United Nations and SAF helicopters results in more deadly consequences for United Nations staff and humanitarian operations.
Photo 13, White Mi-171 helicopter at El Fasher airport
Photo 14, White Mi-171 helicopter on military apron at El Fasher airport
§94. The Panel brought this to the attention of the commander of the Western Military Region in El Fasher and its military interlocutors at the SAF headquarters in Khartoum. These officers stated that they used such aircraft for the transport of delegations around Darfur in the same way as any private company or non-governmental organization might rent a white helicopter and use it in Darfur. They further stated that although their helicopters might be white, none of them carried United Nations markings. The Panel can confirm that the white helicopters it has seen operated by SAF carried no United Nations markings. Nor, however, did they carry any other distinguishing markings apart from a three-figure tail number. These aircraft carry neither civilian registration nor a painted Sudanese flag as normally found on camouflage SAF Mi-24s. The Government of the Sudan has provided no satisfactory explanation for this apparent penchant for ensuring that its white helicopters remain completely bare of elements identifying them as military aircraft.
Offensive military overflights
§95. In line with past practice the Panel continues to define as offensive military overflights acts falling within the following categories:
(a) Disproportionate use of aircraft beyond that which is required to neutralize a clear and imminent threat;
(b) Unprovoked attack with aircraft, such as strafing or indiscriminate bombardment of civilian targets;
(c) Use of aircraft in support of ground operations preparing for or engaging in an attack;
(d) Retaliatory attack, i.e. action in response to a prior attack;
(e) Flights that deposit troops for participation in an attack;
(f) Operation of aircraft in such a manner to intimidate, frighten or harass;
For example, flying mock attack runs, circling over an area for a considerable period of time, destroying buildings with rotor wash, generating sonic booms, etc.
§96. SAF military Antonovs also continue to operate in Darfur in a military support role. Antonov-26 aircraft with the tail numbers 7705, 7710 and 7777 have been observed by the Panel at the Nyala, El Fasher and El Geneina airports throughout the 2008 mandate. These aircraft are mainly white and carry no identifiable military markings apart from their tail numbers and are operated and serviced by SAF personnel. Seen by the Panel typically parked beside military supply dumps, it is these aircraft that are suspected of carrying out Government bombing of areas throughout Darfur.
Photo 15, White Antonov-26 with registration number 7777 and white Government helicopter with registration number 528 in El Fasher, July 2008
§97. The Government of the Sudan throughout this mandate has consistently denied that it uses aircraft in an offensive capacity in Darfur. SAF officers have admitted only the use of Mi-24 attack helicopters in close support of their ground troops while conducting military operations. SAF military white Antonov aircraft and its Fantan A-5 fighter jets based in Nyala are said to be used only in a reconnaissance capacity and never for bombings or attacks. SAF states that security threats in Darfur are increasingly a product of bandits and criminals and that the use of aircraft in an attack role would not be appropriate to deal with a threat of such a minor nature.
§98. On numerous occasions during the present mandate, civilians living in Darfur and rebel groups operating there claimed to have been attacked by or witnessed Government white Antonov aircraft flying in an offensive bombing role beyond that acknowledged by SAF. SAF aircraft in El Geneina, Nyala and El Fasher are all located near supplies of air-to-ground rockets, spare rocket pods or stocks of bombs. At El Fasher airport, for example, white Antonov aircraft park next to a military supply dump covered by tarpaulins and protected by SAF personnel (see photo 16 below). On occasions when these supplies have been uncovered the Panel has clearly seen that they include bombs.
The Panel of experts recommends:
[a] That all Sudanese military air assets deployed in violation of the arms embargo and those deployed prior to the imposition of the arms embargo and currently used for offensive military overflights be withdrawn from Darfur with immediate effect. This would include all Mi-24 attack helicopters, intelligence aviation assets, Fantan A-5 jet aircraft and military Antonovs currently deployed in Darfur;
[b] That all white aircraft operated by the security structures of the Government of the Sudan and flying on behalf of the military be clearly painted in a colour other than white and marked in such a way that there can be no confusion made between them and United Nations aircraft. This includes Antonov and Mi-8 and MI-171 helicopters.
Individual case studies: Sirba
§125. According to witness statements, on 8 February 2008 at roughly 9 a.m. an unidentified white Antonov aircraft and a green helicopter approached Sirba from the north. Both allegedly circled the town for some time before departing. The Antonov later returned to the area and was observed dropping an unspecified number of bombs over a location to the south of the town. This resulted in no casualties. At around 10 a.m. a large group of armed men referred to by witnesses as “Janjaweed” began an attack on Sirba. The attackers used horses, camels and up to 4 open Land Cruisers mounted with heavy machine guns. The attackers were clad in a mix of khaki and camouflage coloured uniform-style attire. After first surrounding the town, they entered the central market area where they began indiscriminate killing, looting and destruction of civilian premises. The attackers further set alight local shops and destroyed market stalls in the centre of town. One of the residents shot and killed was the Oumda (traditional leader). He was killed at his home together with three elders who had come to see him for their regular consultations. The attackers carted goods from the scene and credible reports suggest that SAF troops arriving approximately 30 minutes into the assault did nothing to prevent it from continuing.
§128. On 8 February 2008 between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., according to multiple witnesses, a white Antonov circled over Silea, accompanied by two green army helicopters. The Antonov dropped at least two bombs over the town, one close to a school in the eastern part and another one close to a mosque in the western part of town. One of the bombs killed seven women and several children. The Panel spoke with an eyewitness who assisted in burying their bodies. The ground attack that followed was very similar to the one in Sirba. Hundreds of armed militiamen led the assault on pickup vehicles, horses and camels. They indiscriminately shot at and killed civilians and looted houses. Among the civilians killed was an employee of an international non-governmental organization, who was shot within the premises of the organization. The attackers also looted the offices of international organizations.
[SAF] Attack on UNAMID fuel convoy
§324. On 5 January 2008, a UNAMID logistics convoy departed El Fasher in the direction of Tine. Because the trip necessitated two days of travel, the convoy stopped in the villages of Kutum and Umm Barro along the way. The convoy was escorted by a contingent of UNAMID military protection forces composed of 10 white AMIS armoured personnel carriers, 2 trucks with United Nations markings, 1 AMIS marked truck, and 8 civilian fuel tankers. Following its departure from the town of Umm Barro following an overnight stopover, the convoy was attacked by SAF forces when only two kilometres from its final destination. The convoy was targeted by small arms and rocket fire for nearly a quarter of an hour, resulting in severe damage to one armoured personnel carrier, the complete destruction of a fuel truck that burst into flames and serious injury to a civilian driver who was shot.
§325. During an interview with the Panel, the SAF Commander of the Western Military Region stated that SAF had received no information with respect to the movement of the UNAMID convoy and that there had been no coordination between UNAMID with SAF on the convoy’s movements. The commander further stated that the convoy was unidentified, travelling at night in an area known to contain armed groups, and thus perceived by the sentries at the SAF base to be an imminent threat to the security of the base.
§326. This version of events contradicts UNAMID reports which state that the Government of the Sudan was made aware of the convoy’s movements and in fact had been monitoring its travel since its departure from El Fasher. The convoy had been moving at a measured pace, hampered by delays due to numerous breakdowns and had passed through numerous Government checkpoints over the course of the two days of travel prior to the attack. According to witness statements collected by the Panel, it was a clear moonlit night, and the United Nations and AMIS markings were clearly delineated on the white convoy vehicles. Even in spite of these markings, rebel forces have neither armoured personnel carriers nor fuel trucks of this size, nor are they known to travel slowly together in a convoy of this nature. It is therefore illogical for SAF forces to claim that they were unaware of the movement of this convoy or that it could be easily mistaken for a rebel attack.
[For further discussion of the details of the attack and other circumstantial evidence, see http://www.sudanreeves.org/?p=2200 ]
• OCTOBER 2009, Report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan (S/2009/562)
(Signed) Enrico Carisch
Coordinator, Panel of Experts on the Sudan
This report contains no references to white or disguised aircraft…
Notably, Enrico Carisch—the coordinator for this Panel—would later testify before the UN Congress on Darfur (December 2009). Speaking to the issue of holding Khartoum and the rebels to account under the UN arms embargo and attendant sanctions measures—was unsparing:
“‘Increasingly it looks like poorly understood and under-enforced UN sanctions are being sold out in favor of mediation whose success is far from ensured,’ [Carisch] said.” (Washington Post [dateline: Washington, DC], December 4, 2009)
Carisch was clearly referring to the policies of US special envoy at the time, Scott Gration, and to the Obama administration decision to accommodate Khartoum and its massive violations of the arms embargo:
“[T]he United States appears to have now joined the group of influential states who sit by quietly and do nothing to ensure that sanctions work to protect Darfurians,’ Carisch said.” (Reuters [dateline: UN/New York], December 4, 2009)