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Tuesday, Jul 22nd, 2014

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President Kiir is a “Constitutional President”, not a “Democratically Elected President!”

By Kuir ë Garang

June 29, 2014 (SSNA) -- Most of us in South Sudan are not independent thinkers even when we pretend we are! Some South Sudanese writers and thinkers in Southern States of the country support Federalism not because they’ve actually looked into the inherent benefits to the constituents of the region but because the majority of the citizens embrace it given their flimsy understanding of the system, or because vocal voices in their areas support it, or that, they believe, it’ll give them an opportunity to get rid of the ‘occupiers’ on their land.

None of the supporters of Federalism has ever advanced any convincing reason that’s not either reminiscent of the infamous 1980s ‘Kokora’ or the regionalized tribalism and regionalist sycophancy.  States have governors, parliaments, state MPs, State laws. We somehow have a system that’s structurally resembling other Federal Systems in the world. What is lacking is to actually give more powers to the states and limiting president’s interference in state affairs.

And those who oppose Federalism do so because they support the government and the government opposes it. And the government has absolutely no credible reason advanced in opposition to the system and why they think Federalism would be bad. The only reason they have is that Riek has rekindled the flame of Federalism. This is not the first time Riek has done something like this. Riek feeds on popular aspirations of the people and exploits them.

Self-determination wasn’t a darling of the SPLA/SPLM until Dr. Riek and Dr. Lam made it their focal point in Abuja I in 1992. It was only one of the alternatives in Dr. John’s famous multi-layered Vend Diagrams but not the preferred alternative. UNITY of Sudan was! The two doctors wanted to outsmart Dr. John Garang. However, the way Dr. John changed astonished not only the doctors, but Garang’s friends in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Garang embraced Self-Determination to the chagrin of the Nasir duo and even made it central to Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA); giving birth to Referendum!

Riek and Lam had met an ideological propagandists, ideological chameleon, and also, an ideological wizard who couldn’t be outsmarted.

So folks who oppose Federalism are doing so because people they support don’t like it. They’ve not presented any convincing reason why they oppose it.

This is our major problem. We ally based on irrational positions we hide in ideological, tribalized regionalism and intellectualized tribalism.

We don’t think for ourselves!

That’s why we hear time and again from South Sudanese officials and government supporters that President Salva Kiir Mayardit is a “democratically elected president” of South Sudan!

No! President Kiir was a democratically elected president of the government of ‘Southern Sudan.’ He’s a CONSTITUTIONAL President of the Republic of South Sudan. There was no election held after the independence of South Sudan! None!

We hear from many government officials that President Kiir is the legitimate president of South Sudan because he’s the democratically elected president. Yes, he’s the legitimate president of South Sudan because the Transitional Constitution (2011) says so not because he’s elected.

Chapter II, Article 97 (3) of the Transitional constitution states: “The incumbent elected President of the Government of Southern Sudan shall be the President of the Republic of South Sudan.”

It says elected president of ‘Government of Southern Sudan.’ It doesn’t say elected ‘President of the Republic of South Sudan.’

Article 100 states: “The tenure of the office of the President of the Republic of South Sudan shall be four years, commencing from July 9, 2011.”

What makes the president Legitimate in the Republic of South Sudan is because the constitution says so not because he is elected in an independent South Sudan.

Note that the president tenure is not being counted from the time the president was elected (2010). It’s starting from the independence of the Nation, January 9, 2011.

So it’s utterly wrong to say that President Kiir is a ‘democratically elected president!’ President Kiir’s current legitimacy started on July 9, 2011. Unless I’ve been sleeping between 2011 and 2013 and that a National Election was held then!

Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese author and poet living in Canada. For more information, visit www.kuirthiy.info or www.youtube.com/kuirthiytv

Proposed Federal system for future South Sudan: Let us serialize it (part 3)

By Sindani Sebit

Part 3

June 27, 2014 (SSNA) -- Part 3 of these series focuses basically on the Federal structures under the Federal President (Prime Minister). These structures include the cabinet, defense and Federal law enforcement agencies. From the graphic illustration below, you will notice that the Parliament and the Judiciary is not included here because these two constitutional institutions are independent of the President (Prime Minister).

The basic idea is to enable the people of South Sudan critically understand the separation of powers at Federal level and devolution of powers to the state. It is apparent that the organized forces such as the police, wild life, internal security services, fire brigade or any form of organized forces are not part of the Federal government and thus do not constitute a part of the federal law enforcement but are rather under the state governments.

In this article the plan to reorganize the defense will not be discussed suffice to say the number of the army with be reduced to not more that 80,000 (infantry, air force and navy) while the restructuring will take into account qualification of the soldiers, age, sex and equality and equity within the federal Republic of South Sudan. This restructuring will be done by independent experts including foreigners who have experience in army restructuring. Therefore the areas that will be discussed here are the functions of the executive including the President (Prime Minister), the cabinet in general and the roles of the federal law enforcement services. The individual ministerial portfolios will also not be discussed because the intention of the article is not to specify which ministries will be established and how many but the number should be between 18 to 24 ministries. The purpose of this article is to enable everyone understand the functions of the president and the institution under the presidency and feed back with constructive suggestions.

Structures under the Federal President/Prime Minister

President/Prime Minister:

  • Cabinet
  • National Defense
  • Federal Law (enforcement services)

1. Cabinet

  • Federal Ministers
  • Attorney General
  • Chamber

2. National Defense

  • Infantry
  • Air Defense
  • Navy

3. Federal law

  • Federal Intelligence Service (FIS)
  • Immigration and customs service (ICS)
  • Drug Enforcement and Illegal Trafficking service (DEIT)
  • Special Security Service (SSS)

Executive

The executive authority of the Federal Government of South Sudan is derived from the people. This must be exercised in accordance to the constitution based on the principle of service to the people and to foster their wellbeing. The Executive shall consist of the President (Prime minister), deputy President (Prime minister) and the cabinet. The composition of the executive should reflect the regional and ethnic diversity of the people of South Sudan. This means equality and equity must be the principle on which the president should appoint the cabinet. This balance is crucial in order to create unity and avoid marginalization of some ethnic groups. Certainly not all the 64 tribes of South Sudan will be in the cabinet but attempts must be made to ensure that there is no domination by one or two tribes or regions. On the other hand equity must be observed so that disadvantaged groups such as women, the disable and other marginalized groups cannot be ignored when the government is being formed.

President (Prime Minister)

Authority of the President (Prime Minister)

The President (Prime Minster) shall be the head of State and government and commander in chief for the defense forces. These include the infantry, air force, the navy and the federal law enforcement services that include federal intelligence service (FIS), Immigration and Custom Service (ICS), Drug Enforcement and Illegal Trafficking service (DEIT) and Special Security Service (SSS). The President (Prime Minister) shall also be the chairman of the federal security council which should comprise of the President (Prime Minister), his/her deputy, the heads of the defense forces, the head of the federal intelligence service, the federal foreign minister, secretary to the cabinet and the governor of the state that hosts the federal capital. The President (Prime Minister) will exercise authority of the federal government with assistance of the deputy President (Prime minister) and the cabinet.

Role of the President (Prime minister)

The role of the President (Prime Minister) is to respect, uphold and guard the federal constitution. He/she must exercise powers vested on him/her by the constitution. He/she shall not rule by decrees but only through the articles of the constitution. The President (Prime Minister) though will enjoy the immunity of office, shall not be above the law. He/she shall promote and enhance the unity of the Federal republic of South Sudan, ensures that diversity of the people and ethnic communities are respected. He/she must protect human rights and fundamental freedoms and rule of law as enshrined in the constitution. It must be emphasized here that respect for South Sudan diversity within united South Sudan will work to enhance mutual understanding and trust among the various tribes of South Sudan and will enrich the various South Sudan cultural beliefs and practices. This will further strengthen unity and harmony among the citizenry of South Sudan.

Functions of the President (Prime minister)

Constitutionally the Federal President (Prime Minster) shall perform the following functions:

  • Address the opening of parliament and specific sittings of the parliament
  • Report annually to the nation by submitting to parliament the extent of implementation of government program and progress achieved.
  • Nominate and with approval of the federal parliament appoint or dismiss:

·         Cabinet ministers

·         Attorney General

·         Permanent secretaries

·         High commissioners, ambassadors, diplomatic and consular representatives

  • Chair cabinet, direct and coordinate the functions of the federal ministers and government departments
  • Declare state of emergency and with approval of parliament declare war. The President (Prime Minster) under no circumstance should declare war without approval of the federal Assembly.
  • Promote and enhance the unity of the nation, ensure that diversity of the people and ethnic communities are respected, human rights and fundamental freedoms and rules of law are protected
  • President (Prime minister) has no constitutional powers to remove from office any elected members of government at all levels of administration. These include

·         MPs

·         Governors

·         County commissioners

·         County counselors

The purpose here is to deny the president (Prime Minister) any powers that he/she can use to remove peoples’ elected representatives and to respect the devolution of powers to the states. This will enable the peoples’ representatives and heads of Federal states to work without undue fear of being unconstitutionally removed from office by the President (Prime Minister).

Qualification of the President

In case where the country opts for federal President, in order for anybody to be elected as Federal President he/she must be:

  • Citizen of South Sudan
  • At least must have been a government of a federal state or a senator before standing for the election of president.
  • At least 35 years of age
  • Graduate from any recognized university

Qualification of the Prime Minister

If the country opts for Prime Minister as the head of government like in UK, Indian and many federal states, the candidate for this post should be:

  • Citizen of South Sudan
  • Leader of the party with highest number of MPs in Parliament or highest number of MPs of collusion parties in parliament
  • Has been elected as a member of parliament by his party or collusion
  • At least 35 years of age
  • Graduate from any recognized university

Election of the President

The Federal President shall be elected directly by the people by universal suffrage in an election organized by the Federal Electoral Commission as stipulated in the constitution while for Prime Minister; he/she shall be elected by parliament from the party or collusion of parties with the highest number of MPs.

Vacancy in the President (Prime Minster) office

When the president dies or becomes incapacitated, his/her deputy will take over until new elections are called in accordance with the constitutional provisions pertaining to elections. However, in case of Prime Minister; if he/she dies or becomes incapacitated while in office, his/her party or collusion can nominate another member of parliament from his/her party or collusion to be elected acting Prime Minister until new elections are conducted according to election calendar as stipulated in the constitution. In case the party or the collusion of the Prime Minister looses majority or confidence vote, new national election shall be called as stipulated in the constitution.

Deputy President (Prime Minister)

He must be the principal assistant. He/she will perform the functions assigned by the President (Prime minister)and acts as President (Prime minister) during the absence of the President (Prime Minister).

Federal Cabinet

The federal cabinet shall consist of the President (Prime Minister), his/her deputy, the Attorney General and not less than 18 and not more than 24 ministers. The Federal President (Prime Minister) will nominate all proposed cabinet ministers, present them for vetting and approval by the Federal Parliament before they appointed ministers. Likewise, cabinet ministers shall only be dismissed by the President (Prime Minister) after due approval by the Federal Parliament. This is to avoid nepotism, incompetence and unqualified people being appointed as ministers. It will also weed out people who might have been corrupt or tribalistic in their previous duties. Cabinet ministers should be selected from qualified civil servants and not members of parliament so that parliament has no conflict of interest in approving the cabinet.

Conversely the Federal Parliament may propose a motion requiring the President (Prime minister) to dismiss a cabinet member only on the following grounds:

  • Gross violation of the provision of the constitution or any other law
  • Serious reasons for believing that the said member has committed a crime under federal or international law.

In such situations, the President (Prime Minister) is required to oblige. However, clear procedures for such request by parliament, shall be stipulated in the constitution.

Although cabinet ministers are accountable to the President (Prime minister), they must attend to any summons by the committee of the parliament so as to enlighten the parliament about their activities and also to be accountable for their actions. Performance contract do usually improve performance and accountability and therefore all cabinet ministers shall be required to sign performance contract at beginning of their term of office. These contracts shall be reviewed at end of every year to determine if the concern minister has fulfilled his/her obligations. Failure to do so will trigger parliamentary process to remove the minister.

Attorney general

The attorney General is a member of cabinet. He is not a part of the Judiciary. Attorney is the principal legal adviser to the Federal government. He/she represents the Federal Government in court or any other legal or criminal proceedings. He/she can be a friend of court in any proceedings where the Federal government is not a party. His/her role is to promote, protect and uphold the rule of law and defend the public interest. He can also be assigned any function by the President (Prime Minister).

The Attorney General shall be nominated by the President (Prime Minister) and with approval of parliament appointed to office. The process of approval by parliament should be done transparently and rigorously to avoid tribalism, nepotism and favouritism. He/she should have qualification equivalent to Federal Chief Justice and should serve for 5 years but can be reappointed if necessary.

Director of persecution

In order to have independent and impartial persecution system, an independent office of persecutor shall be created. This office shall have right to tenure of office for 5 years and renewable for the same period. The occupant of the office shall be nominated by the President who will seek for approval of parliament before his/her appointment. The qualification of the persecutorshould be at the level of Judge of the Federal Court of Appeal. The persecutor shall have powers to direct the commissioner of police to investigate any information or allegation of criminal conduct and will exercise powers of persecution. In so doing he/she may institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any court; take over and continue any criminal proceedings started in any courtand can discontinue, at any stage before judgment is delivered, any criminal proceedings.

The persecutor shall not require the consent of any person or authority for commencement of criminal proceedings. He/she shall not be under the direction of any person or authority but should have regard for public interest, the interest of administration of justice and avoid abuse of the legal process.

The South Sudan Federal Law Enforcement Agency

The Federally operated agencies are essential to enforce various types of laws in the South Sudan that cannot be devolved to the states. These services usually cut across the states and in most cases cannot be managed at state level. These are services that cannot be assigned to organized forces under the state.

The services that will be implemented by the federal Law Enforcement Agencies include:

1. Protecting, preventing, countering, and investigating terrorism;

2. Illicit drug trafficking;

3. Transnational and multi-jurisdictional crime;

4. Organized people smuggling, human trafficking and slavery;

5. Serious fraud against the Nation;

6. High-tech crime involving information technology and communications;

7. Peacekeeping and capacity building; and

8. Money laundering;

The Federal Law Enforcement Agency is divided into four (4) federal law enforcement organs namely:

Federal Intelligence Service (FIS)

The Federal Intelligence Service is a highly secretive federal law enforcement organ whose mission is to collect and evaluate foreign intelligence in an effort to protect the security of Federal Republic of South Sudan. It may also be involved in covert activities in other countries at the discretion of the President (Prime Minister) of the Federal Republic of South Sudan. It will be responsible in combating international terrorism. Therefore it will frequently work with other countries to accomplish this effort.

Immigration and Customs Services (ICS)

ICS shall be charged with enforcing laws involving border control, customs, trade and immigration. It constitutes the Federal police force that enforces illegal immigration activities throughout the Federal Republic of South Sudan and investigates import and export illegal goods and materials.

Drug Enforcement and Illegal Trafficking (DEIT)

DEIT shall be charged with the responsibility of investigating and enforcing laws related to illegal trafficking of firearms and explosives as well as the theft and the unlawful sale and distribution of alcohol and tobacco. It is also responsible for enforcing laws relating to controlled substances like marijuana, cocaine and heroin. It will work with other state and county organized forces as well as with foreign governments to reduce the trafficking of illegal drugs.

Special Security Service (SSS)

The Special Service Service’s primary function is to protect the President (Prime Minister) of the Federal Republic of South Sudan and his/her immediate family as well as the Vice-President and other high ranking government officials who might face security threats. It will also be tasked with protecting Federal Courts and Judges. It will deal squarely with counterfeiting of currency, money laundering, internet (Cyber) security and threat, fraud, and credit card fraud. In addition, it will serve as covert law enforcement on Federal Republic of South Sudan aircrafts and other high value targets in the country.

In conclusion, compared to the current system of governance in South Sudan, the federal system proposed here curtails the dictatorial powers of the President, affirms the independence of the Parliament and Judiciary and boasted the oversight role of Parliament over the executive. The President will have no powers to appoint his cronies or tribal bigots to office without approval from Parliament. This system will indeed counter the rampant corruption, tribalism, nepotism and favouritism in South Sudan. It will also frustrate the efforts of any President (Prime Minister) from becoming a dictator.

The author can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

A Familiar Acquiescence follows Khartoum's Bombing of MSF Hospital in South Kordofan (June 16, 2014)

By Eric Reeves

June 25, 2014 (SSNA) -- Nothing on the ground has changed since Khartoum's warplanes struck the hospital of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Frandala, South Kordofan last week.  We don't know the fate of the three people "severely injured," according to the June 17 MSF press release (altogether five were reported injured in and around the hospital).  But we do know that damage was considerable, indeed that MSF declared the hospital was "partially destroyed."  It remains the case that Khartoum's Military Intelligence knows precisely where the hospital is located, as it did before the attack—something stressed in the MSF press release.  MSF evidently believed that apprising Khartoum of their coordinates would deter attack.  Both recent and more distant events call into serious question the wisdom of such an assumption.

MSF is silent on the question of what sort of military aircraft were involved in the attack, but there is an obvious inference: while Antonov aircraft may have been involved, it is certainly the case that at least one more advanced, true military aircraft—with sophisticated targeting equipment—was used.  The MSF press release states: "As bombs struck the village of Farandalla [more commonly Frandala] on June 16, two hit the MSF hospital there."  The chances of an Antonov dropping multiple bombs in such a tight radius are vanishingly small; nor is the damage as reported by a non-MSF source consistent with the barrel bombs used by Antonovs (their explosive impact is relatively low, although they are deadly by virtue of the hail of shrapnel they throw out).  Together, these two features of the attack—the extent of the damage caused by bomb explosions in a substantial compound, and the closeness of the bombs landing within the hospital and surrounding village—indicate that it was carried out by a plane such the Sukhoi-24 air-to-ground attack aircraft used in Khartoum's attack last month on the Mother of Mercy Hospital in Gidel, near Kauda.

It is worth recalling the details of this attack, since Dr. Tom Catena, the surgeon at Mother of Mercy Hospital and an eyewitness, provided such a detailed account of this entirely deliberate attack (see my full analysis of the event, Sudan Tribune, 6 May 2014):

The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) attempted to kill Dr. Tom Catena, an American citizen, in Mother of Mercy hospital in Gidel (Catholic Diocese of el-Obeid).  Dr. Catena is sure that he was specifically targeted in the May 1, 2014 attack by virtue of a number of compelling facts:

[1]  He is the only surgeon performing life-saving operations on civilians wounded during Khartoum’s relentless aerial assault on the people of the Nuba Mountains; the Mother of Mercy hospital is the only one in the Nuba mountains, and treats some 150,000 civilians per year; the unmistakable intent on the part of the regime is to block all humanitarian assistance to the people of the Nuba, even if it means attacking a civilian hospital marked with a red cross and far from any active fighting;

[2]  Dr. Catena saw an observation drone over the hospital in the days before the attack;

[3]  The bombing was carried out by a Sukhoi-24 air-to-ground attack aircraft; it is a sophisticated weapon from the arsenal of the former Soviet Union and has a good deal of advanced targeting equipment; and indeed one bomb caused major damage to the facility;

[4]  The following day (May 2, 2014) an Antonov aircraft again attacked Dr. Catena and the Mother of Mercy Hospital; many patients, even seriously injured ones, have fled to the hills, as have many staff, thus diminishing the capacity of the hospital significantly; one person was seriously injured.

(All information here comes by way of an email received from Tom Catena, May 2, 2014; see also, however, the highly detailed account of the attack by Nuba Reportshttp://nubareports.org/sudan-targets-only-hospital-in-nuba-mountains)

There can be no real doubt that the bombing of the MSF hospital, also in South Kordofan, followed the same pattern, given the evidence at hand.  Moreover, if we needed any reminder of the inconsequential nature of mere words of "condemnation" or "outrage," declarations that such attacks are "unacceptable" or "deeply disturbing" or "appalling," this bombing surely provides it.  For the same language accompanied the bombing of the Mother of Mercy Hospital on May 1—as it has countless other bombings of hospitals, humanitarian operations, schools, and refugee camps.  Khartoum has become utterly inured to such moral flatulence as proceeds from the European Union, the UN, the AU, and indeed the U.S.

For Khartoum knows that none of these actors takes such bombing attacks seriously enough to work hard enough to halt them; and knowing of this refusal to act, Khartoum's bombings have continued relentlessly.  Recent attacks on civilians and hospitals in South Kordofan (as well as Blue Nile) are a direct reflection of the impunity conferred by previous statements that have been without meaning or specification of consequences for further attacks; unsurprisingly, these attacks are again accelerating (see recent dispatches from Nuba Reports on the intensity of aerial attacks on civilians).  Khartoum simply doesn't take seriously the various international words of condemnation or expressions of perturbation; indeed, the attack on MSF's hospital, an egregious war crime in itself, had been preceded (by four days) by what seemed a distinctly more robust U.S. statement on attacks that had preceded the bombing of MSF's hospital:

The US ambassador to the United Nations accused Sudan Thursday [12 June 2014] of intensifying attacks on civilians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, and of deliberately bombing schools and hospitals. Samantha Power condemned "in the strongest possible terms" attacks she said were being carried out by the Sudanese government and its rapid support forces against ordinary people. Ground and air attacks have increased since April, with hundreds of barrel bombs and other ordnance dropped on towns and villages, deliberately targeting hospitals and schools, she said. (Agence France-Presse [UN/New York], 13 June 2014) (all emphases in quotations are added unless otherwise indicated)

It is difficult to know whether the attack on the MSF hospital was simply another brutal step in Khartoum's war against the African peoples of South Kordofan and Blue Nile—or an act of extraordinary contempt for any U.S. response, which in the event was little more than a regurgitation of points made in Ambassador Power's UN statement.  In either event, however, the stakes and consequences are high, as the MSF statement stresses:

“Damage to the Farandalla hospital is significant, but MSF will continue to work there,” Moller said. The MSF facility, with both outpatient and inpatient wards, began operating in 2012.  Nearly 65,000 consultations have been carried out since then, along with close to 2,300 admissions. MSF is one of the few health care providers in South Kordofan.  In addition to running the Farandalla facility, MSF supports five health centers in the area.

This was the target Khartoum chose to attack.

A more forthright MSF

The knock-on effect of international acquiescence is that humanitarian organizations everywhere in the Sudans feel themselves in greater danger, and at distinct risk of being attacked from the air.  This did not, however, prevent MSF itself (MSF-Switzerland, or MSF-Sw) from publishing in 2000—fourteen years ago—an account of repeated bombings of the organization's hospital in Kajo Keji (now Central Equatoria).  Responding to the appalling number of hospital bombings throughout Equatoria, where the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) had been largely confined by Khartoum's superior military firepower, MSF-Sw published in February 2000 a remarkable if almost completely unread study: Living under aerial bombardments: Report of an investigation in the Province of Equatoria, Southern Sudan.  The findings of the report should be sobering to those who think that expressions of moral outrage are sufficient to halt the Khartoum regime in its attacks against civilians, schools, hospitals, and any other target that might the support lives of African civilians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile:

Since the beginning of the year 1999 until this very moment, we [MSF-Sw] have been experiencing and witnessing direct aerial bombings of the hospital, while full of patients, and of the living compound of our medical team (10 bombings in 1999, a total of 66 bombs dropped, with 13 hitting the hospital premises[emphasis in original]. Facing the sharp increase of aerial bombardments in this region during 1999, frequently aimed at civilian structures such as hospitals, in November 1999, we requested an investigation of these events and their consequences for the civilian population in the area.

The elements of this investigation, included in the report herewith, tend to demonstrate that the strategy used by the Sudanese Air Force in this region, is deliberately aimed at targeting civilian structures, causing indiscriminate deaths and injuries, and contributes to a climate of terror among the civilian population.

MSF-Sw also reported:

MSF is particularly worried about the use or alleged use of prohibited weapons (such as cluster bombs and chemical bombs) that have indiscriminate effect. The allegations regarding the use of chemical bombs started on 23 July 1999, when the villages of Lainya and Loka (Yei County) were bombed with chemical products. In a reaction to this event, a group of non-governmental organizations had taken samples on the 30th of July, and on the 7th of August; the United Nations did the same.

Although the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is competent and empowered to carry out such an "investigation of alleged use," it needs an official request made by another State Party. To date, we deplore that OPCW has not received any official request from any State Party to investigate, and that since the UN samples taking, no public statement has been made concerning these samples nor the results of the laboratory tests.

MSF offers several eyewitness accounts of chemical weapons in bombs, including a grim narrative of events in Yei County (now Central Equatoria):

The increase of the bombings on the civilian population and civilian targets in 1999 was accompanied by the use of cluster bombs and weapons containing chemical products. On 23 July 1999, the towns of Lainya and Loka (Yei County) were bombed with chemical products. At the time of this bombing, the usual subsequent results (i.e. shrapnel, destruction to the immediate environment, impact, etc.) did not take place. [Rather], the aftermath of this bombing resulted in a nauseating, thick cloud of smoke, and later symptoms such as children and adults vomiting blood and pregnant women having miscarriages were reported.

These symptoms of the victims leave no doubt as to the nature of the weapons used. Two field staff of the World Food Program (WFP) who went back to Lainya, three days after the bombing, had to be evacuated on the 27th of July. They were suffering of nausea, vomiting, eye and skin burns, loss of balance and headaches.

After this incident, the WFP interrupted its operations in the areaand most of the humanitarian organizations that are members of the Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) had to suspend their activities after the UN had declared the area to be dangerous for its personnel.

There have been repeated reports of chemical weapons use after 1999; not one has been investigated by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons—certainly not at the behest of the United States, which under the Bush administration professed such profound concern for chemical weapons in the hands of Saddam Hussein.

In the body of the report, MSF—which had been working in eastern Equatoria since 1997—finds that their teams have:

…several times been victims and witnesses of these bombings that are only aimed at the civilian population and civilian targets. Hospitals and schools in particular, are deliberately chosen as targets.

The hospital in Yei town—run by the nongovernmental Norwegian People’s Aid and marked with a large and conspicuous red cross on its roof—was also a particular target of Antonov bombing attacks in 1999. Yei was bombed on 15 different occasions during the year, and a total of 138 bombs were dropped.  Ten people were known to have been killed, more were wounded, a number of civilian houses were destroyed, the hospital infrastructure was seriously damaged, and the facilities of two other humanitarian organizations were destroyed or damaged (the UN water facility was targeted in one of these attacks).  A measure of the inaccuracy of the Antonov bombing is the fact that more than half the attacks did not cause casualties or damage, the bombs fell so wide of their targets.  Again, such inaccuracy strongly suggests that the tight bombing radius for the bombing of the MSF hospital in Frandala was created by jet attack aircraft such as the Sukhoi-24, already implicated in the Mother of Mercy Hospital in Gidel.

Although little considered, the data for these attacks are in many cases available.  I provide below links to specific sections of my monograph analyzing aerial attacks throughout greater Sudan ("They Bombed Everything that Moved": Aerial Military Attacks on Civilians and Humanitarians in Sudan, 1999 – 2014 www.sudanbombing.org):

[a]  Introduction and overview, including language from the Rome Statute making abundantly clear that these aerial attacks, in aggregate, constitute crimes against humanityhttp://wp.me/p45rOG-1lh

[b]  Year-by-year synoptic history of aerial attacks throughout greater Sudan, including South Sudan, Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and eastern Sudan.  A number of the bombing attacks on South Sudan occurred after Khartoum had signed the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement: http://wp.me/p45rOG-1lj

[c]  Lengthy bibliography (30pp.) of news wire reports of individual incidents that define the history of this grim military strategy: http://wp.me/p45rOG-1lib

For those interested in the data spreadsheet and updates recording more than 2,000 confirmed aerial attacks on civilians and humanitarians, see the complete report at: www.sudanbombing.org.

When will there be an appropriate response to these continuing war crimes, in aggregate crimes against humanity?

I began writing about the bombing of civilians and humanitarians in South Sudan in 1999; several early publications could not have been more explicit about the very same realities we are witnessing now, fifteen years later.  It is the continuity of such savagery that gives Khartoum's bombing campaigns their unique status.

•  “An Ultimatum to Sudan on the Bombing of Civilian Hospitals,” The Ottawa Citizen, October 7, 1999

•  “Ending Schoolyard Violence—In Sudan,” The Catholic New Times (Toronto), April 30, 2000

•  “A UN Seat for Genocide,” The Washington Post, August 15, 2000

The latter piece, read by people with a great deal of power in shaping U.S. foreign policy, included the following summary account:

Nominally Khartoum is the “government” of Sudan. What Khartoum really governs are the country’s military resources—and the choices of civilian targets. Their favorites are undefended villages, schools, hospitals, herds of cattle, refugee centers and emergency feeding stations. One attack on a school in the Nuba region killed 14 young children as they began their English lesson book, “Read With Us."

This air war is without question the cruelest and most destructive military effort by a recognized government anywhere in the world. In this case, not only is the government recognized, it is set to take a seat on the U.N. Security Council this fall. The same body that should even now be issuing the harshest condemnation of Khartoum’s actions will instead be welcoming Sudan’s envoy.

It is important to recognize the terrible ambitions this envoy will represent. For what makes the government’s air war on civilians so destructive is not just the number of people killed and maimed by the shrapnel-loaded bombs. The larger effect of these attacks is terror, and a dispersal of the civilian population. The consequence is much less efficient agricultural production in a land continually stalked by famine.

This is all quite deliberate on Khartoum’s part. Civilian destruction and dispersal are the means of ensuring that the opposition military forces in the south are denied food, or the aid of a cohesive society. It is a crude but terribly effective “weapon of mass destruction.”

To make sure of the genocidal efficacy of the bombing campaign, the Khartoum regime has also escalated its assaults on humanitarian efforts. It is attacking, with much greater frequency, the medical and food relief programs of those trying heroically to save the people of the south from disease and starvation. Many of the hospitals and clinics that have been targeted are run by the world’s finest humanitarian organizations.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is but one example. Its clinic at Chelkou, in one of the most distressed regions of southern Sudan, was deliberately bombed on July 14. Reliable sources confirm that there was no military presence near Chelkou. Moreover, as part of its standard protocol, the ICRC had fully apprised the Khartoum regime of its presence in Chelkou and had secured permission. It was bombed anyway.

On July 25, some 200 miles to the southeast in the village of Billing, the Khartoum regime again bombed the Red Cross. Pilots on the ground, who had an approved flight plan from Khartoum, heard the bombers coming and desperately spread out a large Red Cross flag on the ground. It did no good. The bombs fell anyway.

This is the government that will soon be represented on the U.N. Security Council. It is a disgrace that it has not been criticized in the most direct and forceful way for its barbarous cruelty. It is beyond disgrace and moral conception that it will smugly take its place at the table of the world’s governing body.

Rumbek. Malakon. Akwem. Lui. Kauda. Names that for the most part don’t show up even on detailed maps of Sudan. But all have become targets for a campaign of aerial terror that has as its clear goal creating dislocation and famine among the African populations of the south. The regime in Khartoum, which looks to the Arabic and Muslim world for political and cultural identity—as well as support—is conducting a war that is animated by viciously destructive racism. Its ultimate goal is to destroy as many people as possible who might constitute an obstacle to its domination of vast oil resources inconveniently located in the south.

In the event, outrage at the time was great enough to deny Khartoum a seat on the UN Security Council.  The regime has, however, suffered no serious consequences since this defeat, even for countless attacks as brutal and barbaric as that on the MSF hospital in Frandala, South Kordofan.  All it has to fear are the tepid words that seem to flow so easily from the lips of those with the power—but without the inclination—to bring real pressure to bear on Khartoum to halt these atrocity crimes.

Eric Reeves' new book-length study of greater Sudan (Compromising With Evil: An archival history of greater Sudan, 2007 - 2012; www.CompromisingWithEvil.org).

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