The U.S. Department of State has concluded that both factions vying for power in Sudan since mid-April are responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity, albeit with varying degrees of severity.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement condemns the Sudanese armed forces and the Rapid Support Forces for initiating horrific violence, resulting in deaths and widespread destruction throughout the country. The communiqué places blame on both sides, outlining atrocities such as violence and the killing of prisoners in detention facilities on each front.
Specifically, Antony Blinken implicates General Hemedti’s Rapid Support Forces and allied militias in a campaign of terror targeting women and young girls through sexual violence, whether in their homes, abductions on the streets, or assaults on those attempting to flee for safety. The statement also references targeted violence against survivors of the Darfur genocide from 20 years ago.
Both General al-Burhan and General Hemedti’s forces face accusations of war crimes, with the Rapid Support Forces additionally charged with crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. The Secretary of State asserts that these findings from U.S. intelligence lend strength and renewed urgency to African and international efforts aimed at ending the violence.
Since April 15, forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan have conflicted with paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by his former deputy, Mohamed Hamdane Daglo. Conservative estimates from the Armed Conflict and Event Data Project suggest over 10,000 casualties, and the UN reports that 6.3 million people have been displaced from their homes.