December 12, 2012

II. Southern Kordofan

Southern Kordofan, Sudan’s only oil-producing state, lies north of the border with South Sudan. Fighting started on June 5, 2011, between SAF and SPLA forces stationed in Kadugli, the state capital, and Um Durein town, and quickly spread to other towns and villages where both forces were present under the terms of the CPA.

During the first days of fighting in Kadugli town, UN human rights observers documented serious human rights violations by government forces, including killings, arbitrary arrests, and widespread destruction and looting of civilian property. [5] Since the fighting started, Sudanese forces have pursued a campaign of indiscriminate bombing in populated areas in rebel-controlled territory. [6] Such attacks could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

As of the beginning of December 2012, Sudanese government forces maintain control over Kadugli and other main towns and areas near Dilling, Talodi, Dellami, Rashad, Abbasiya, and Abu Jibeiha. The SPLA-North controls large areas of the countryside around Kadguli, particularly in El Buram, Um Durein, and Heiban localities, and mountainous areas northwest of Kadugli. In February 2012, SPLA-N forces overtook government positions on the road to South Sudan, thereby securing a route south to Yida refugee camp in South Sudan.

Indiscriminate Bombing and Shelling

In the 18 months between June 2011 and December 2012, Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) have carried out hundreds of bombings, shelling, and rocket attacks on civilian areas across the Nuba Mountains where the rebels have control. The strikes varied in frequency and intensity, from several times per month to several times per day. Sudanese monitors reported 106 bombs were dropped in the month of October 2012, and 125 in the first half of November alone. [7]

The bombings have killed, maimed, and injured civilians in their homes, while farming, fetching water, or attending village markets, and have destroyed homes, crops, livelihoods, clinics, and schools, and forced people to abandon their homes and livelihoods. The persistent bombing has terrorized the population; most families have dug foxholes near their homes or moved to sheltered areas, and even small children now refer to the “Antonovs,” the common name for the cargo planes used by Sudan to drop bombs.

Human Rights Watch investigated bombing incidents in four localities – Kadugli, Um Durein, Heiban and Dellami – through direct observation of the bombings and through witness interviews, examination of bomb fragments, craters and other physical evidence.[8] Typically the bombings used unguided munitions that are dropped from Antonov cargo planes or other aircrafts flying at high altitude. Such methods do not allow for accurate delivery. Use of weapons in a civilian area that cannot accurately be targeted at a military objective makes such strikes inherently indiscriminate, in violation of international humanitarian law.[9]

In addition to evidence that Sudan is bombing and shelling indiscriminately, Human Rights Watch found evidence that Sudan is also using cluster bombs despite emerging international prohibitions on the munitions.[10]

The vast majority of bomb victims that Human Rights Watch documented are civilians. Most of these are women, children, and the elderly. Of 122 treated for aerial bombardment wounds at a hospital near Kauda in the past 18 months, 110 were civilians according to medical staff who spoke to Human Rights Watch. 

In all incidents investigated, witnesses and victims told Human Rights Watch that there were no military targets, such as a rebel presence, in the vicinity at the time of the bombings. While Human Rights Watch could not confirm the absence of SPLA combatants in the vicinity when the bombings took place, evidence gathered by Human Rights Watch about the incidents suggests that no effort was made to identify and avoid civilian objects, and that the weapons predominately used by Sudanese air forces cannot accurately be targeted in a manner that distinguishes between civilians and potential military targets.

In addition to strictly observing the principle of distinction (that is, parties to the conflict must at all times distinguish between civilians and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives)[11] parties have an obligation to take constant care to spare the civilian population, civilians, and civilian objects. In this regard SPLA-North fighters should not operate or initiate attacks from residential areas and to the extent feasible should avoid operating in populated civilian areas where their presence is likely to have a harmful impact on civilians.[12]

Examples of civilian victims wounded by use of indiscriminate bombing include Huwaida Hassan, mother of seven, who was seriously injured by a bombing on the Heiban market around mid-day on October 2. The bomb fragments sliced into her belly. Two elderly women and a teenage girl were among the others injured. Fadila Tia Kofi, a woman in her 70s, was injured by bomb fragments at around 11 a.m. on September 11, 2012, while working at her garden near her home in Lima village, western Kadugli locality.  “I heard the sound of a plane and I fell to the ground. A big piece of metal cut my toes,” she told Human Rights Watch at her home in October 2012. “I don’t know why the bombs come. I work, I farm. Now I crawl.” All the toes of her right foot were amputated and she can no longer walk. [13]

In March 2012, a bomb fell near 16-year-old Daniel Omar, while he was grazing cattle. Fragments immediately severed one arm and injured the other so badly that it was later amputated. “I still have pain in the wounds,” he told Human Rights Watch from a hospital bed in Southern Kordofan in late April 2012.

Five members of a single family – including three teenaged sisters -- died when shells hit and set ablaze their home outside of Um Sirdiba in Um Durein locality, on the night of February 17, 2012. Four sisters sleeping in one room burned to death. Their father, Samuel Dellami, died soon afterward. His brother told Human Rights Watch in April, 2012: “Before he died, he said ‘where are my daughters?’ No one answered because we were all confused. This is the only thing he said. People cried and after that, we picked the dead bodies and buried them.”

On February 18, 2012, bombs were dropped on Angolo, in El Buram locality, injuring Halima Tiya Turkan, age 35, while she and her daughter were hiding in a cave to escape an approaching airplane.  “My brother was hit by an Antonov on Friday and on Saturday we were going to his funeral. We saw an Antonov and ran into the caves. A bomb dropped near the opening of the cave where I was with my daughter and shrapnel entered inside,” she told Human Rights Watch. “The shrapnel hit me on the side, until my intestines came out.” [14]

In one of the most lethal strikes, 13 civilians were killed while fetching water and shopping at the market at Kurchi, in Um Durein locality on June 26, 2011. Explosions from several bombs killed five children and three women. Bomb fragments maimed and injured more than 20 others, paralyzing an eight-year old girl from the waist down.[15]

Bombs have also damaged or destroyed civilian property including clinics, schools, market stalls and other structures. On January 13, 2012, a bombing in Al Ganaya, in El Buram, destroyed a church and home.  Human Rights Watch observed unexploded missiles, reportedly fired in November 2011, lodged beneath and near a secondary school in Korungu, Kadugli locality, rendering the school unusable and the area dangerous. Sudanese monitors also reported that bombing damaged a church in Darea, Dalami locality, on December 31, 2011; a bible school in Heiban on February 1, 2012; a clinic in Kurchi, Um Durein locality, on February 6, 2012; a primary school in Um Sirdiba on February 17, 2012; and a clinic at Kolulu on October 24, 2012, in an incident that also killed one civilian and injured two others.

Attacks and Abuses by Government Forces

At the start of the conflict in June 2011, government forces, including the paramilitary Popular Defense Forces (PDF) and the Central Reserve Police, an auxiliary force, in Kadugli, shelled and bombed residential neighborhoods, looted and burned down homes and churches, shot at civilians, killed civilians including UN staff, and arrested scores of people suspected of links to the SPLM. The UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) documented these patterns of abuse, which Human Rights Watch and others warned could amount to crimes against humanity, and recommended an independent and comprehensive human rights investigation.[16] Sudan has vigorously refuted the UN’s findings.[17]

In the 18 months that followed, Sudanese ground forces carried out numerous other attacks on villages, killing civilians, destroying property, and arbitrarily arresting and detaining large numbers of people in violation of applicable international law. 

Attacks on Villages

Human Rights Watch received reports of numerous cases in which Sudanese government or allied forces deliberately killed civilians, detained and placed hundreds at risk of enforced disappearance, and destroyed and looted civilian property.  These actions constitute serious violations of customary international law prohibitions regarding the protection of civilians and civilian property, and may constitute war crimes in non-international armed conflicts.[18]

In El Taice, a town in El Buram locality that changed hands several times in 2011, witnesses told Human Rights Watch that SAF soldiers occupying the village at different times shot and killed civilians, destroyed homes and forcibly apprehended and took away hundreds of people.  Hanan Kafi Raha, a 19-year-old mother of two who witnessed an attack in early 2012, told Human Rights Watch in April: “I saw the SAF pushing people out of the caves down to the vehicles parked near the foothills. There were maybe 15 vehicles. They were crowding people into the trucks.” Witnesses did not know the fate of most of those civilians detained in El Taice in early 2012. Most of them are presumed to be in government custody or living in government areas, but government restrictions have prevented families from getting information about their fates or re-uniting with them.

Civilians from Troji, another village in El Buram locality, described a similar pattern of detentions and subsequent disappearances when government forces captured the town in December 2011. Scores of people were detained while trying to gather remnants of the destroyed harvest from their fields or while going to fetch water, or were forcibly removed from places they had taken refuge in the mountains. Their whereabouts are still unknown, and as the Sudanese government has not provided any apparent information on their fate, they are presumed victims of enforced disappearances.[19]

Human Rights Watch has received information about other attacks on villages, but could not access the attack sites. A Sudanese citizen journalist group, Nuba Reports, documented compelling evidence of a May 18, 2012 ground attack on Gardud El Badry, a village near Al Abassiya, by SAF, PDF, and the Central Reserve Police, known as “Abu Tira.”  A cell phone video clip, corroborated by witness interviews, shows a group of the attackers tying up a Nuba youth and thuggishly insulting him and demanding to know where the cows are, presumably for looting. The boy, an 18-year- old student, was detained for 10 days and recounted how he was beaten with whips.[20]

The group also obtained a similar cell phone video clip of an earlier attack on Um Bartumbu village, south of Al Abassiya, in November 2011, in which PDF forces are seen torching the village. The damage shown in the video clip was reportedly confirmed by the Satellite Sentinel Project’s imagery.[21]

Displaced civilians in Sabat, in Habila locality, northeast of Kadugli, told Human Rights Watch in August 2011 how a large group of government soldiers and militia from Burumbeta and Khor el Dileib villages burned the houses of civilians who were presumed to be SPLA supporters in Khor el Dileib, then attacked Sarafaya village, which had been intermittently under SPLA control, in July 2011, without attempting to distinguish civilians from possible rebel soldiers. Ismail Naway, a farmer who fled the town with his wife and eight children, recalled:  “They came in pick-ups and by foot and had kalash, jeem [types of automatic weapon], and rockets. They were attacking the whole village. They wanted to kill people and take animals. I saw them kill one person before we left.”

Civilians displaced from Harazaya, a village near Kadugli town, told Human Rights Watch how 50 families fled the village upon receiving a warning that government forces from the neighboring village Harazaya Zuruq were preparing to attack on January 3, 2012. Witnesses saw the soldiers drive six vehicles to a position nearby, fire shells at the village, then torch houses and loot animals and other property.[22] 

Arbitrary Arrest and Detention

At the outbreak of conflict in June 2011 in Kadugli, government forces arrested and detained scores of people suspected of supporting SPLM or SPLA during house-to-house searches and at checkpoints. Witnesses from Kadugli told Human Rights Watch and UN human rights monitors that government forces had lists of names of Nuba people wanted for their real or perceived links to the SPLM, and were arrested on this basis.

In one example, Mohammed M., a 33-year- old former accountant in the Southern Kordofan Ministry of Health and SPLM member, told Human Rights Watch that in July 2011 national security officials arrested him in El Obeid town (North Kordofan), where he had fled after conflict erupted. He was detained by military intelligence forces in El Obeid then transferred to Kadugli, where he stayed for nearly a year in military detention before he managed to escape. Mohammed said he was forced to confess to being a SPLA soldier under pressure, after he was badly beaten. “Soldiers tied my hands and legs and whipped my back until it was bleeding. They ordered me to ‘talk’ but I did not know about what. Then I was tortured whenever SPLA won a military victory.”[23]

Civilians with real or perceived links to the SPLM-North continue to face threat of arrest inside government areas, according to people Human Rights Watch interviewed. In one example, Sudanese security officials in Kadugli arrested Sara L., a 22-year-old mother of two, at her home on October 24, 2012, and detained her for three days because of her suspected links to the SPLM-North. Security officials had previously detained her father for 14 days in September because of his work with a Nuba cultural organization. Sara L. was shackled, beaten and detained with 35 other women in a national security detention facility inside Kadugli town. Upon her release, she fled to a rebel-controlled village outside Kadugli, traveling on her own at night.

On August 22, 2012, national security officials arrested Omaia Abdelatif Hassan Omaia, an employee with the Ministry of Finance and a member of SPLM-North, near Abu Jubeiha, in eastern Southern Kordofan state. At this writing he is understood to remain in detention at a government’s official’s house in Rashad and is at risk of torture.[24] 

In early November dozens of people were arrested in Kadugli following the rebel group’s shelling of the town, and accused of collaborating with rebels; more than 30 women remain in detention without charge and have reportedly been denied access to lawyers or family. [25]   In Dilling, north of Kadugli, dozens of civilians, including an elderly man with chronic health problems, were reported detained by national security and military intelligence officials following weeks of skirmishes between government and rebel forces in the area. [26]   Human Rights Watch was not able to confirm the circumstances of these detentions, but understands they have not been charged or moved into a civilian detention facility.

In situations of internal armed conflicts, the deprivation of liberty is governed by both international humanitarian law and by human rights law. These laws prohibit arbitrary detention,  ill-treatment of detainees and provide for due process protections for detainees.  Under certain circumstances, individuals may be detained on security grounds without being charged with an offense, but in such exceptional cases, detention must be absolutely necessary, temporary and reviewed periodically to determine if there is a legal basis for continued detention.[27]

Sudan should make known the names of all those in detention, their whereabouts, release those arbitrarily detained and ensure the full application of procedural safeguards and due process rights to those detained on lawful grounds.

Sexual Violence

Government forces have also subjected women and girls to sexual violence. Its prevalence is difficult to determine, and commonly in situations of armed conflict sexual and gender based violence is underreported, but focus groups of refugee women in Yida identified sexual violence as a pressing concern while fleeing their homes in Nuba Mountains, as well as an ongoing concern in the camp.[28] 

In one horrific incident in November 2011, PDF soldiers stationed at Jau, a military base near the South Sudan border, assaulted and raped two Nuba girls, ages 14 and 16, who were traveling from Angolo, in El Buram locality, to the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan.[29] In El Taice, Human Rights Watch interviewed victims and witnesses of sexual violence by government soldiers at different times in November 2011 and early 2012. Halima T., a young woman in her twenties, told Human Rights Watch that her aunt was raped by government soldiers. “I saw my aunt being raped. We were in the mountain together, and they came and took her. She was raped near the mountain… afterward they took her to Kadugli.” 

Human Rights Watch previously documented reports of rape in Kadugli and Heiban in 2011 shortly after conflict broke out.  Several people also told researchers that they heard of rape incidents involving government soldiers or allied militia in late 2011 and early 2012 in Dalami, Troji, and Dammam, but researchers could not confirm specific incidents.[30]

Sudan has an obligation to protect women and girls from all acts of sexual violence and to hold perpetrators accountable. If committed during armed conflict, sexual violence could amount to a war crime, which Sudan has a duty to investigate and prosecute. Non-state armed groups also have an obligation to prevent sexual violence and should investigate and appropriately punish perpetrators.[31]

Ongoing Displacement

Since the war began, hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes in both government and rebel-held areas to escape bombing and ground attacks or arrest.  The UN estimates more than half a million people have been displaced or “severely affected” in Southern Kordofan state, and of these, there are 350,000 in rebel-held areas, 207,000 in government-held areas, and 65,000 have gone to Yida refugee camp in South Sudan.[32]  

Ongoing conflict is forcing people to flee locations all over the Nuba Mountains. In July and August 2012, for example, fighting in northeastern localities of Rashad and Abbasiya forced thousands to flee. People have also fled fighting near government-controlled Talodi town on numerous occasions since the outbreak of conflict, particularly in March and April 2012, when SPLA-North attempted to take control of the town. In Kadugli, many people fled after rebel forces shelled government positions in the town in October and November. 18 civilians reportedly died in the shelling.[33]

In addition, Sudan’s indiscriminate bombing in civilian areas keeps many from returning home, even if their homes are in rebel-held areas.  Amna Kuku Tia, age 70, from Lofo village, told Human Rights Watch in October 2012 that she is afraid to leave the hills of Korungu where she settled at the outbreak of war to return to Lofo because she anticipates more shelling and bombing there. “I don’t have the legs to run anymore so I am better here in the rocks.”

One of the most difficult consequences is separation of family members. Nearly everyone in rebel-held areas said they had family members in government-held areas they could not join because of the government’s movement restrictions. “We all have family we cannot see,” Sumaya, a 37-year-old mother of four children living in Khartoum, told Human Rights Watch. Sadiq al-Nur, a 58-year-old lab technician from Khartoum was trapped with his daughter while visiting his second wife and their three children before the conflict started, and is afraid to return home to his other family members. “I am stuck. This door is closed.”

Denial of Access to Food, Water, Health, Education

Sudan’s abusive tactics have caused a large-scale humanitarian crisis. Hundreds of thousands of civilians, many of them forcibly displaced, urgently need shelter, food, access to potable water, healthcare, and education for their children. Yet the Sudanese government has blocked access to all goods and services from outside rebel-held areas, including desperately needed humanitarian aid.

Since the beginning of the conflict, the government has restricted freedom of movement of civilians into and from rebel-held areas by closing roads and denying travel permission, and has repeatedly denied access to those areas by UN and international aid groups requesting permission to assess needs and provide aid. These restrictions have created a de facto blockade of humanitarian aid to rebel-held areas of both Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Nuba communities rely on their own agricultural production for food, but were largely unable to cultivate in 2011 due to insecurity and indiscriminate bombing. In some places, witnesses told Human Rights Watch researchers they saw Sudanese forces destroy food and water supplies, wiping out food stocks in those areas. In Troji, for example, SAF soldiers set fire to stores of grain and to fields, destroyed grinding mills, looted cattle, and destroyed boreholes during fighting in December 2011.

Staple foods like sorghum are either unavailable at markets or simply too expensive for most of the local population. Many people survived on leaves, nuts, wild fruits, and hunting, preferring to stay in Nuba eking out enough to survive than attempt the long journey to Yida refugee camp in South Sudan.

The Korongu mek [traditional leader] told Human Rights Watch in October 2012 that 18 people in his area had died of hunger since July, while in April the deputy commissioner of Um Sirdiba reported 14 had died in Abu Hashim village. Conditions were especially difficult from June to August, when people sought food at local clinics and hospitals, and several hundred arrived every day at the Yida refugee camp.[34] A household survey conducted in rebel-held parts of Southern Kordofan in August found that the food situation had further deteriorated with 81.5% of families living on one meal per day and serious malnutrition among children.[35]

Local officials and aid workers expect increased fighting will drive tens of thousands more to Yida camp, and cause more acute hunger for those who remain in the rebel-held areas. The current harvest, which is providing some food, is not expected to last beyond December.

Sudan’s de facto blockade not only deprives people of food in the markets, it also deprives civilians of medicine and supplies, including vaccines against smallpox and preventable disease. Human Rights Watch observed a farmer and a trader, both badly wounded by an October 24, 2012 market bombing at Kursi village in Korungu locality, with serious wounds from metal fragments which an attendant said were still lodged inside their bodies. The men were in excruciating pain, lying on rope beds in a mud-hut clinic that had no doctors, painkillers or medical supplies.

Many teachers, like doctors and other civil servants, are not able to leave Kadugli or other government towns to report for work in rebel-controlled areas.  Their absence is a pressing concern for many parents who see little choice but to send children walking, sometimes for days, to Yida camp for rudimentary schooling.

Sudan’s de facto blockade of humanitarian assistance violates international humanitarian law, which provides that where a warring party cannot provide assistance, it should permit impartial humanitarian organizations to access civilians and assist them and that humanitarian personnel should enjoy the freedom of movement essential to the exercise of their functions. Only in case of imperative military necessity may their movements be temporarily restricted.[36] International humanitarian law also strictly prohibits parties to an armed conflict from destroying objects indispensable to the survival of civilian populations and deliberately causing a population to suffer from hunger.[37]

Yida Refugee Camp Concerns

An estimated 65,000 refugees have moved to the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan since June 2011. While the rate of arrival declined from several hundred per day to 177 per week in late October 2012, the rate of new arrivals again increased in November, with 2,100 arriving in a week, the majority women and children, primarily because of insecurity and lack of food.[38]  Camp administrators expect tens of thousands more will arrive by year’s end, due to fighting and food shortages.

The overriding protection concern in Yida is its proximity to the border -- at 11 km from the border, it is 39 km shy of the 50 km international standard [39] --and the presence of military personnel. The SPLA, SPLA-North, and Darfur rebels have all visited the teeming camp, compromising the civilian character of the camp and posing a security threat to refugees.  The presence of any soldiers also poses a special threat to women and girls, who identified rape and sexual violence as an ongoing concern in Yida, particularly while collecting firewood. [40]

In September and October 2012, SPLA-North soldiers reportedly entered the camp and rounded up large numbers of men and boys including students and staff of NGOs, detaining many for days.  The episode, which SPLA-North commanders justified as an effort to disarm the camp, underscored the vulnerability of unaccompanied minors. SPLA-North, in particular, should ensure such violations do not recur and that the civilian character of the camp is preserved.

[5]See “Thirteenth Periodic Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Sudan,” August 2011, available at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/SDPeriodicReports.aspx

[6] See “Sudan: Crisis Conditions in Southern Kordofan,” Human Rights Watch new release, May 4, 2012, http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/05/04/sudan-crisis-conditions-southern-kordofan; “Sudan: Southern Kordofan Civilians Tell of Air Strike Horor,” Human Rights Watch new release, August 30, 2011, http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/08/30/sudan-southern-kordofan-civilians-tell-air-strike-horror

[7] See “Humanitarian Situation Report on South Kordofan and Blue Nile States, Sudan,” South Kordofan & Blue Nile Coordination Unit, 15 October – 15 November 2012, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[8]See Human Rights Watch news releases, footnote 6.

[9]International law prohibits indiscriminate attacks which are those: (a) which are not directed at a specific military objective; (b) which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military objective; or (c) which employ a method or means of combat the effects of which cannot be limited as required by international humanitarian law; and consequently, in each such case, are of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction. See Rule 12 in ICRC Customary International Humanitarian Law, Volume I Rules, op. cit.. This is a customary norm in both international and non-international armed conflict and binding on all parties to the conflict. See also Additional Protocol I, art. 51(4).

[10]Sudan has expressed its intention to sign the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, prohibiting cluster munitions, and has denied using them in Southern Kordofan. See ”Sudan: Cluster Bomb Found in Conflict-Zone,” Human Rights Watch news release, May 24, 2012, http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/05/24/sudan-cluster-bomb-found-conflict-zone.

[11]See Rule 1 in ICRC Customary International Humanitarian Law, Volume I Rules, op. cit.; see also Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Additional Protocol II), 8 June 1977, 1125 UNTS 609, entered into force December 7, 1978, article 13 (2).

[12]See Rules 15 and 22 in ICRC Customary International Humanitarian Law, Volume I Rules, op. cit.; see also Additional Protocol II, article 13 (1).

[13]Human Rights Watch interview with Fadila Tia Kofi, Lima village, Southern Kordofan, October 31, 2012.

[14]In both Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, people habitually used the term “Antonov” to refer to any military aircraft, whereas the Sudanese military uses aircraft of different makes, including Antonovs.

[15] See “Southern Kordofan Civilians Tell of Air Strike Horror,” Human Rights Watch news release, August 30, 2011, http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/08/30/sudan-southern-kordofan-civilians-tell-air-strike-horror, for more detail on this and other incidents.

[16]See “Thirteenth Periodic Report,” footnote 5.

[17] “Comments of the Government of Sudan to the Thirteenth Periodic Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Situation of Human Rights in the Sudan,” Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Sudan to the UN, Geneva, August 16, 2011, on file with Human Rights Watch.

[18] International law prohibits attacks directed at civilians or civilian objects, inhumane treatment of civilians, arbitrary detention, pillage and the willful destruction of civilian property not justified by military necessity. See Rules 1, 4, 50, 52, 87 and 99 in ICRC Customary International Humanitarian Law, Volume I Rules op. cit..See also Additional Protocol II  articles 13(1) and (2). These are customary norms in both international and non-international armed conflict and binding on all parties to the conflict. Intentionally directing an attack at the civilian population or at individual civilians and inhumane treatment of civilians constitute war crimes in both international and non-international armed conflict; and the Statute of the International Criminal Court provides that pillage and unjustified destruction of civilian property are war crimes in non-international armed conflicts.

[19]See “Sudan: Crisis Conditions in Southern Kordofan,” Human Rights Watch new release, May 4, 2012, http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/05/04/sudan-crisis-conditions-southern-kordofan

[20]See video clip available at http://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DFzwXype1s2c

[21] ”Match Battalion: Confirmation of the Razing of Um Bartumbu Village, South Kordofan, Sudan,” Satellite Sentinel Project, July 20, 2012,  http://www.satsentinel.org/sites/default/files/SSP%20Report%20Match%20Battalion%20072012.pdf

[22] Human Rights Watch interviews with displaced people, names withheld, at Kufa village, Southern Kordofan, November 1, 2012.

[23]Human Rights Watch interview with Mohammed M., Kufa, Kadugli locality, October 31, 2012.

[24]“Torture Fears for Man Disappeared in Sudan,” Urgent Action, 12, October 2012, Amnesty International

[25] Osman Naway, “Urgent Action: Dozens of Sudanese Women Detained,” November 15, 2012, http://pambazuka.org/en/category/advocacy/85449

[26] Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Sudanese monitor in Khartoum, Sudan, November 22, 2012.

[27]See Rule 99 in ICRC Customary International Humanitarian Law, Volume I Rules op. cit.

[28] See “Still Not Safe: Violence against Women and Girls of the Nuba Mountains,” the International Rescue Committee, Yida Camp, March 2012, at http://data.unhcr.org/SouthSudan/country.php?id=251

[29]Telephone interview with Sudanese human rights monitor, November 14, 2012.

[30]”Crisis Conditions in Southern Kordofan,” Human Rights Watch news release, May 4, 2012.

[31]International law prohibits rape and sexual violence in international and non-international armed conflicts. See Rule 93 in ICRC Customary International Humanitarian Law, Volume I Rules op. cit. See also common article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, articles 75 - 77 of Additional Protocol I, article 4 of Additional Protocol II, article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Statute of the International Criminal Court provides that “committing rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy … enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence” constitutes a war crime in international and non-international armed conflicts (article 8(2)(b)(xxii) and (e)(vi)); and “rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity” may constitute a crime against humanity (ICC Statute, article 7(1)(g)). States must investigate war crimes allegedly committed by their nationals or armed forces, or on their territory, and, if appropriate, prosecute the suspects. They must also investigate other war crimes over which they have jurisdiction and, if appropriate, prosecute the suspects; ICRC Customary International Humanitarian Law, Volume I Rules, Rule 158.

[32]See Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Sudan Humanitarian Update, 3rd Quarter 2012, URL

[33] See “Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin,” 18 November 2012, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Full%20Report_1166.pdf

[34] See, e.g., “Refugees in Unity State Fact Sheet,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 30 June 2012, http://data.unhcr.org/SouthSudan/documents_search.php, referring to as many as 1000 new arrivals per day.

[35]Rapid Security and Nutrition Assessment, South Kordofan, October 2012, released by The Enough Project, http://www.enoughproject.org/files/SK%20Rapid%20Assessment%20Report.pdf

[36] See Rules 55-56, ICRC Customary International Humanitarian Law, Volume I Rules op. cit.

[37]See Rules 53 – 54, ICRC Customary International Humanitarian Law, Volume I Rules op. cit.; see also Additional Protocol II, article 14.

[38]New Refugee arrivals at South Sudan’s Yida camp, Briefing Notes, November 16, 2012, http://www.unhcr.org/50a62ca89.html

[39]See p. 188, “Partnership: An Operations Management Handbook for UNHCR Partners,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees, http://www.unhcr.org/4a39f7706.html

[40]“The condition of women and girls in Yida refugee camp: a reproductive health and gender-based violence rapid assessment,” International Rescue Committee, February 2012 (on file with Human Rights Watch).