Dhe large rectangles of white fabric are stretched out on the hot asphalt. On June 3, young Sudanese, ladies in toub (traditional fabric with which Sudanese women cover their bodies and hair) and other lawyers in costume kneel down to write a few words of tribute to the victims who died three years earlier. “Abbas Farah, my heart is broken,” writes a woman wearing a Sudanese flag. This 28-year-old engineer is one of 127 citizens registered as victims of the revolutionary sit-in bloodily dismantled on June 3, 2019, two months after the ousting of dictator Omar al-Bashir. This number is actually higher, between the undeclared deaths and the bodies never found, to which are added dozens of rapes. The authors of the military coup of October 25 may have slowed down the work of the committee responsible for shedding light, but the pro-democracy activists, gathered on this Friday afternoon, like the Association of Families of Martyrs, do not cease, however, to demand the condemnation of the sponsors of this massacre.
The putschists slow down the investigation
“We hope that justice will be served here, on Sudanese soil. But that will not happen as long as the putschists remain in power, summarizes Farah Abbas, both father of the late engineer and president of the collective. These generals continue to talk about a third force that allegedly committed these crimes. But who are they talking about? Of men from the sky or invisible? It happened in front of the army headquarters. The generals are therefore responsible and should resign. »
The investigation skates. “Some exams require government approval. However, our mandate only authorizes us to exchange with the Prime Minister. The absence of a Prime Minister for five months therefore obstructs our work,” reports lawyer Nabil Adib, head of the committee in charge of the case. At the beginning of May, the investigators left their building following the occupation, for about ten days, of the neighboring offices by civil servants sent by the Minister of Finance. “We now have to carry out a security check to ensure that cameras or microphones have not been placed. This would threaten the secrecy of the investigation, ”continues the magistrate.
At Khartoum’s “Station 7”, one of the places of commemoration of June 3, the guilt of the two main architects of the putsch, Generals Abdel Fattah al-Burhane and Mohamed Hamdan Dagolo, alias “Hemeti”, does not matter. doubt. Two demonstrators each brandish a card with their effigy. The duo is depicted with a rope around their necks. Amid the political speeches, revolutionary slogans and burnt tires emblematic of the rallies against the coup, Enass Altoohami explains: “At the beginning, we trusted the committee in charge of the investigation. But it’s been three years and nothing has been done. We don’t expect anything from it now. I know what I saw. I don’t need the government to tell me who was killing us. »
A request sent to the ICC
Blue-gray djellaba, white turban and sunglasses, his friend Diaa Mohammed reveals an imposing scar on his chest. For three years, a bullet has been lodged under his right shoulder blade. A second projectile struck him the same day, leaving an indelible mark on his left wrist. This survivor hopes that the sentence will be pronounced by a Sudanese court, because the slowness of the procedure initiated by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the ex-militia leader Ali Kushayb for the crimes committed in Darfur exasperates him .
The leaders of the Association of Families of Martyrs nevertheless contacted the ICC. Even if this attempt is unlikely to succeed. “In principle, the ICC does not interfere if the State in question is investigating according to the law in force. On the other hand, if the association manages to convince the ICC to carry out its own investigation, I do not see a problem there”, comments lawyer Nabil Adib. The international community could also take over the investigations through the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. But this initiative would only make it possible to prove the facts and not lead to a conviction, still according to the Sudanese investigator.
The four-day visit of Adama Dieng, UN human rights expert in charge of Sudan, coincided precisely with this sad anniversary. “It means something”, assures Amira Babiker Kabous, the vice-president of the Association of the families of martyrs, at the end of a meeting with the latter. “He told us that it was a long road but that he would help us”, adds the mother of Mohamed Mattar, assassinated the day after his 26e anniversary.
Families suspect link between investigation and coup
In his report, Adama Dieng condemned the excessive violence used, for the umpteenth time, against peaceful demonstrators on June 3. And which resulted in the death of Ahmed Abdallah Ahmed, 99e victim of the coup. “Nothing can justify firing live ammunition at unarmed demonstrators. This young man is said to have died after being shot in the chest. This is a tragedy – each of these deaths is a tragedy for Sudan – another young man whose family mourns today. His murder must be immediately investigated and the perpetrator brought to justice,” the UN expert said.
The Association of Families of Martyrs currently brings together the relatives of 203 victims of June 3, 2019. It should meet soon to integrate the relatives of the women and men killed since October 25. “We want to obtain justice for all the martyrs who fell before and after the fall of Bashir, those of the dismantling of the sit-in and those of the coup. It is unfair that these criminals normally live as if nothing has happened. If we don’t stop them, the blood will continue to flow and we will count new martyrs every day,” insists Amira Babiker Kabous, under the smiling gaze of her son, four portraits of whom sit on the sideboard of the elegant family living room.
She is a professor who teaches gender diversity, peace and rights at a prestigious university. “The soldiers were to hand over the reins of the Sovereign Council to the civilians who would then have asked Nabil Adib to deliver the results of his committee,” she explains. The lawyer nuances. “The handover was only supposed to take place in July,” he underlines. There is no direct link between the putsch and the investigation. This decision turns out to be more linked to the quarrels which opposed the civilians and the military members of the Sovereign Council. It is nonetheless unconstitutional. »