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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More