March 1, 2021 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese government should restrict unlawful activities by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia which continues to extend its powers and arrest people in extrajudicial detention centres, Human Rights Watch said on Monday today.
The death under torture of Baha El-Din Nouri an RSF detention facility in Khartoum on 20 December, confirmed reports about the unlawful activities of the militia which accused of war crimes and human rights violations during the former regime.
In a speech delivered on Independence Day on 1 January, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok sought to calm the popular anger and announced that the country would ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and the Convention against Torture and Cruel Punishment without condemning or alluding to the RSF crime.
For his part, the attorney general on January 21, 2021, issued a circular providing that the police and the prosecutors can arrest civilians as provided in the law. But, he did not condemn the murder.
“Sudan’s transitional government should rein in the Rapid Support Forces, which is assuming ever-increasing power without any legal basis,” said Laetitia Bader, Horn of Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
“It is completely unacceptable for military forces to hold civilians in custody instead of handing them over to civilian authorities or releasing them if that is not possible,” Bader further stressed.
The rights group said it documented multiple unlawful detentions of civilians in 2020 in Khartoum by the RSF militiamen.
“The former detainees said that the security forces held them incommunicado and denied them access to lawyers and their families throughout their detention, which ranged from a week to over a month. Two detainees said RSF guards physically ill-treated them,” reads the statement.
Under the Juba peace agreement, the Sudanese army, RSF and the rebel groups should form a national army.
However, it is not clear if this provision would be implemented as the RSF now is seen as a military-economic force with its investments inside and outside the country.
The militia leader who is also the deputy head of the Transitional Sovereign Council travelled last February to attend the IDEX is the largest military exhibition in the Middle East, as he continues to modernize his army.