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The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has revealed visual evidence of mass graves in South Kordofan, which corroborates new eyewitness reports, obtained by SSP, of systematic killings and mass burials in this conflict-torn region of Sudan. The evidence found by SSP is consistent with allegations that the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and northern militias have engaged in a campaign of killing civilians.
The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has released new visual evidence that the Government of Sudan has committed grave violations of the Geneva Conventions and other war crimes, some of which may also constitute crimes against humanity. The totality of evidence from satellites and ground sources points to state-sponsored ethnic cleansing of much of the contested Abyei region, says SSP. The evidence is being conveyed to the International Criminal Court and the UN Security Council.
The Satellite Sentinel Project has secured independent confirmation of the aerial bombardment of a Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) military installation in Jau town in South Sudan’s Unity State (Figure 1). The South Sudanese army’s continued occupation of Jau, which is located within the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SDBZ) straddling the two countries’contested border, is a violation of the two countries’ recent recommitmentto abide by security arrangements. Jau has been the subject of territorial dispute and the site of previous clashes between the two countries’ armed forces in December 2011 and February 2012. Not withstanding South Sudan’s current non-compliance with its agreement to demilitarize its border areas, the Sudanese government’s aerial bombardment of Jau, now confirmed by the Satellite Sentinel Project, is an illegal use of force under international law.
DigitalGlobe imagery indicates that Sudan has acquired at least three Su-24 (“Fencer”) supersonic precision bomber aircraft in recent months. Theoperational range of the Fencer is a little more than 600 kilometers, whichwould allow targeted air strikes from their current position in Wadi Seidnamilitary air base into parts of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.(See Figure 1 for graphic on operational range.) The Fencer can also carry twoexternal fuel pods that would extend the range and loiter time over a targetarea. The acquisition of aircraft with precision targeting capability could signala change from rolling crude bombs out the door of an AN-24/26 transport toconducting targeted strikes.
This op-ed originally appeared on The Daily Beast.
Despite the narrative from diplomats and journalists that Sudan’s civil war is mostly over, Janjaweed gunmen are still terrorizing the region. This time, no one’s paying attention.
The Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, is now using elephant poaching as a means to sustain itself. LRA leader Joseph Kony—wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity—has ordered his fighters to bring him elephant tusks.Eyewitnesses report that the LRA trades tusks for much-needed resources such as food, weapons and ammunition, and other supplies.
“The Satellite Sentinel Project's methods have overturned the idea of what investigating human-rights abuses means,” writes Ian Daly in Wired UK magazine. This is an excerpt from his Satellite Sentinel Project profile, "Can you spot the human rights abuses here? You can with real-time satellite tracking," which appears in the March 2013 issue. You may download the magazine from iTunes or the Google Play Store, or read the full article online.