News / Africa

Satellite Images May indicate War Crimes in Abyei

Internally displaced people sit under a tree in Turalei, in the south's Twic county, about 130 km (80 miles) from Abyei, May 27, 2011
Internally displaced people sit under a tree in Turalei, in the south's Twic county, about 130 km (80 miles) from Abyei, May 27, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

A bipartisan group of former civilian and military officials say recent satellite images of the Sudanese town of Abyei give visual evidence of alleged war crimes.

The officials include two former U.S. State Department Special Ambassadors-at-Large for War Crimes, David Scheffer and Pierre Prosper; David Crane, the former chief prosecutor for the Special Court in Sierra Leone; and Michael Newton, former senior advisor to the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes.

The Satellite Sentinel Project [SSP] took the images after northern Sudanese forces won control of Abyei last month, following a clash with southern Sudanese forces. They show many areas had been burned.

“The Satellite Sentinel Project really shows how technology is allowing those of us in the international criminal law field to look at actual evidence of war crimes as they are happening or just after they have happened,” said David Crane. Crane now heads Impunity Watch at the Syracuse University School of Law.

Good evidence

The SSP is sponsored by The Enough Project.

“Photograph evidence is always very, very telling,” he said, “both to a jury or a finder of fact. But it also allows us to physically see what has actually taken place. And here in Abyei town, it’s certainly a war crime or crime against humanity. There’s no militarily necessary reason to attack civilians and their towns.”

Crane said just a few years ago, this technology was only available to governments. What’s more, social media now allow average citizens to report on events in a matter of seconds.

The technology was unavailable to Crane while he was investigating war crimes and crimes against humanity related to Sierra Leone’s Civil war. He signed the indictment against former Liberian President Charles Taylor in connection with that conflict.

“You can’t prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt, but certainly it is important evidence,” he said, “The bad guys just can’t get away with it anymore.”

Little pressure?

The former prosecutor, however, said he doubts the satellite images of Abyei will have much influence on the Khartoum government. President al Bashir has been indicted been indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court in connection with the conflict in Darfur.

“They’ve had pressure before. This is just another series of events and evidence that show the actual heart of the Sudanese government, the Bashir government, that they really regard life very, very cheaply. Again, another sad chapter in the evolution of international crimes in that part of the world,” said Crane.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid