I. Activity Summary


Sudan has hosted five peace operations between 2002 and 2011, including the first hybrid AU-UN peace operation, alongside a series of peace processes mediated by international and regional powers. Given the tendency towards repression and fragmentation in Sudanese politics, these interventions have all struggled with the fact that even apparently stable agreements have to be renegotiated whenever there is a shift in the prevailing conditions in Sudan’s political marketplace of patronage.

Regional political, security, commercial and ethnic-based relations, particularly between Sudan, Chad, and Libya, are essential to understanding the longevity of conflict in Darfur. As political and armed opposition is constantly reconfigured to align with internal and international spheres of influence, the current situation in Sudan continues to be characterized by armed conflict, stalled democratization, the dominance of the military and internal security apparatus in politics, and hostility towards international organisations, especially the UN.


Sudan gained independence from Britain and Egypt in 1956. The first civil war began almost concurrently, between the (majority black and non-Muslim) southern Sudanese population and the forces inherited by the Khartoum government from its erstwhile colonial masters. Conflict between the Southern rebels and the government lasted until the Addis Ababa peace agreement was signed in 1972. A tenuous and fragile peace held for barely a decade, before war broke out again in 1983. The Sudan’s People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) led by Dr. John Garang emerged as the primary rebel group in the South. After years of attempted negotiations and peace agreements, mediated since 1993 by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in conjunction with various international actors, the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the SPLM/A finally signed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in January 2005. The implementation of the CPA eventually led to the independence of South Sudan in July 2011, but a range of conflicts and peace operations nonetheless remain active in Sudan.

The Peace Process up to Bürgenstock: 1994 - 2002

Political negotiations to resolve the second Sudanese civil war began to make progress after the African Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) took responsibility for mediation in 1993. In 1994, the parties adopted a Declaration of Principles, which recognized inter alia the right to self-determination of the peoples of Sudan. IGAD member-states also recognized the SPLM/A as the principal representative of the rebels negotiating with the GoS.

In 2000, the incoming U.S. administration of George W. Bush – which had positive ties to the SPLM/A – reversed its predecessor’s policy of regime change in Sudan in favour of a negotiated settlement to the civil war. President Bush’s new Special Envoy to Sudan, Senator Jack Danforth, was appointed only days before Al Qaeda’s attacks on the U.S. of September 11, 2001. Khartoum’s strong desire to not be seen as a state sponsor of terrorism at that time opened up a new window of opportunity for a U.S.-mediated peace process.

Capitalising on this new freedom of maneuver, Senator Danforth proposed three initiatives to be undertaken as trust-building measures between the belligerents:

  • A ceasefire in the Nuba Mountains, negotiated in Burgenstock, Switzerland, and monitored by a Joint Military Commission (JMC) comprising the parties and a small team of unarmed Norwegian military observers.
  • A Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT) in southern Sudan, reporting on violations such as aerial bombardment. The intention was to monitor the GoS’s reduction in attacks on civilian targets, in the absence of a general ceasefire. The deployment of unarmed civilian monitors, while beset with numerous problems, ultimately served its political purpose.
  • An inquiry into allegations of abduction and enslavement of women and children. This was a contentious issue, and the investigation enabled the parties to address it quietly, removing the prospect of its complicating negotiations.

Peace talks between GoS and SPLA (Nuba) representatives[i] in the Swiss town of Bürgenstock in January 2002 led to the adoption of a ceasefire[ii]; being complete with technical details on (updated, satellite-imagery based) high-quality maps, the agreement was more comprehensive and ambitious than either party had expected[iii].

Joint Military Commission (2002–2005)

The first international observer mission to South Kordofan – the Joint Military Commission (JMC) – was deployed to monitor compliance with this agreement. The mandate of the JMC was to monitor the ceasefire, report ceasefire violations, and support cross-line and community-level dialogue. Importantly, this mandate was not set by an international organization, but rather by the “Friends of the Nuba Mountains” countries.[iv] The Commander of the JMC (Brigadier-General Jan-Erik Wilhelmsen of Norway) would confer directly with those embassies in Khartoum.

In March 2002, the JMC deployed with 30 international observers and 15 members each from the GoS and the SPLA (Nuba), and a budget of $15 million/year. By late 2004, it grew to 39 international monitors on a budget of $18 million/year. Operationally, the JMC organised itself into small teams, comprising 2-3 international observers plus a member each from the GoS and SPLA (Nuba). Each team conducted unarmed patrols, investigated complaints, and escorted civilians, convoys of trade goods, and humanitarian assistance[v].

The JMC focused on developing extensive networks among local communities, with an emphasis on listening and responding to local concerns and grievances. For instance, working from the maps developed for the Bürgenstock talks, JMC teams compiled detailed information on mine locations, other hazards, and potential safe routes between communities, fields, and major settlements[vi].

Through consistent community engagement, JMC members came to be seen as trusted intermediaries in the region. This level of trust enabled JMC teams to be effective mediators, and to resolve various disputes between communities before they led to violence. There were no major ceasefire violations during the tenure of the mission[vii], and residents of the Nuba Mountains reported feeling protected and respected by the JMC[viii]. The JMC provides a model for light-footprint missions, conducted with a high degree of responsiveness to local conditions, to supervise the ending of hostilities and building confidence between erstwhile belligerents.

Comprehensive Peace Agreement: 2002 - 2005

In July 2002, the GoS and SPLM/A adopted the Machakos Protocol, which provided a detailed framework for a peace agreement. Over the following thirty months, a series of negotiations led to five more protocols: on security arrangements (25 September 2003), on wealth-sharing (7 January 2004), and on power-sharing, Abyei, and the “two areas” of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile (26 May 2004).[ix] These agreements and their implementation mechanisms were collectively endorsed as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in Nairobi on 9 January 2005.

At the Naivasha talks, chief mediator Lazarus Sumbeiywo reported to IGAD; the UN Department of Political Affairs had a full-time observer at the talks and the AU had an intermittent observer presence. Given the JMC’s light-footprint model, and the consistent emphasis on peace agreement implementation being a Sudanese affair, none of the international actors anticipated a large peacekeeping mission in Sudan. The Protocol on Security Arrangements did not mention any international force, and the CPA annex on ceasefire implementation, signed just hours before the UN Security Council deadline of 31 December 2004 for concluding the negotiations, specified “a lean, effective, sustainable and affordable UN Peace Support Mission.”[x] This position was complicated, however, by the outbreak of war in Darfur.

War in Darfur: 2003 - 2004

Darfur had been in low-level armed conflict for decades; militarization and the erosion of law and order led to tribes arming themselves to protect their lands and livelihoods. In turn, Khartoum “policed Darfur by promoting loyal chiefs and arming their militias,” most of whom were Arabs.[xi] This process polarized the (highly inter-mixed and multi-ethnic) Darfurian society[xii], with major nomadic tribes such as the Rizeigat coming to identify as Arab, and major sedentary tribes such as the Fur and Zaghawa identifying as non-Arab.

Khartoum manipulated differences over land claims and property rights to keep the region in conflict; Darfurian leaders correctly saw this as a ploy to sustain the political and economic exclusion of their region. This exclusion was documented by a group of prominent Islamists from Darfur in the form of The Black Book in May 2000; by early 2003, a number of these authors formed the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), while prominent Fur and Zaghawa leaders allied to form the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA).

With the support of their kin in senior government and military positions in Libya and Chad[xiii] as well as the SPLA, these groups procured arms, ammunition, and vehicles. In April 2003, the SLA and JEM attacked El Fasher airfield, destroying a number of Antonov warplanes and capturing the Commander of the Sudanese Air Force; attacks on Kutum, Mellit, and Tina followed over the next month. The GoS counter-offensive, led by the army and militia forces, was not limited to battlefields; entire tribes and settlements were attacked, pillaged, and displaced.[xiv] While they had fought as proxy forces before, it was in this conflict that the janjawiid militia (Rizeigat camel-herders, particularly the Um Jalul tribe of Musa Hilal) gained notoriety.[xv]

A ceasefire was signed in Abéché in September 2003, but militia forces continued to attack rebels throughout October. The period between November 2003 and February 2004 saw the most intense violence in Darfur’s recent history, particularly around a major GoS advance in January 2004.[xvi] Fighting did not cease even after President al-Bashir declared “victory” on February 9, 2004 – an early indication of the limited control the GoS actually exercised over militia forces.

First Darfur Peace Talks: August 2003 – April 2004

At the Naivasha talks, the GoS, the IGAD mediator and other international actors all saw Darfur as a vexing complication in an already slow and difficult negotiation. Meanwhile, Chadian President Idriss Déby Itno saw war in Darfur as a strategic threat to his position[xvii], especially since the most militarily capable of the Darfur rebels were ethnic Zaghawa, from the same group as Déby himself. As the war escalated, Déby convened peace talks in N’djamena in March 2004, bringing in the AU as co-mediator and relying on U.S. support in bringing the rebels to the table.

The AU Commission had appointed Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe as its Special Envoy to Sudan in October 2002. Ambassador Kingibe, along with Ambassador Sam Ibok of the AU PSC, held a series of meetings with Sudanese and Chadian government officials in March 2004 to discuss the Darfur crisis. In particular, they discussed a role for the AU in monitoring a ceasefire[xviii]. The GoS boycotted the opening on 31 March, objecting to the presence of non-AU observers; only when the AU Commission Chairperson, President Alpha Konaré, intervened directly with President Bashir did the talks resume, leading to the N’djamena Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement of 8 April 2004[xix]. The agreement provided for AU military observers, as well as a small contingent of African troops to protect the monitors, as part of a Ceasefire Commission (CFC) to implement the agreement on the ground, and a Joint Commission (JC) to review reports of ceasefire violations.

AMIS: The African Mission in Sudan (May 2004 – December 2007)

The African Mission in Sudan (AMIS) initially included 96 international observers (60 from the AU, 18 Chadians, and 18 from the U.S. and EU), and a force protection unit of 270 troops.[xx] The mission (usually called “AMIS I”) was mandated to monitor ceasefire compliance, verify disarmament of government-controlled militia, and assist in confidence-building measures. The protection force was also mandated to protect civilians and humanitarian workers in their vicinity from imminent threats.[xxi]

Almost immediately, it became clear that AMIS was inadequate for this task.[xxii] In October 2004, the AU PSC approved an expanded mission (“AMIS II”) and extended its mandate until October 2005.[xxiii] The concept of operations was reviewed in October to include “proactive monitoring” and to “discourage attacks on civilians.”[xxiv] The authorized strength of AMIS II was raised to 3,230 personnel, and a Darfur Implementation Task Force (DITF) was created within the Peace and Security Directorate to provide logistics support; a police component was also deployed to address security in IDP camps. The budget at this time was US$ 220 million. In April 2005, AMIS was further approved to expand to 6171 military personnel and 1560 civilian personnel, with a budget of US $466 million.[xxv]

AMIS was hobbled from the outset, though, because the N’djamena ceasefire was quite literally not an agreement. After the text had been approved and signed by the representatives of the SLA and JEM, the GoS delegation objected, arguing that they had agreed on the understanding that the text would include a provision that the rebels be encamped.[xxvi] At the insistence of the Chadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, the head of the AU mediation team wrote in this extra clause, and the GoS signed.

The ceasefire was signed at the high point of military success for the GoS; had the SLA and JEM abided by its letter, they would have been confined to the mountains and the desert. Instead, the period from June 2004 to January 2005 saw asymmetric violations by each side: the rebels attacked military and police outposts and convoys, overran new territories, and killed administrators and tribal chiefs. The army and militia bombed suspected rebel bases and destroyed entire villages, raping and killing civilians in large numbers[xxvii].

AMIS was also challenged because the AU was not, at the time, equipped to mount such an operation. The AU PSC had just been established. There was no specialized department for peace support operations, and the Peace and Security Division was understaffed and overstretched, with virtually no experience in running such an operation. Although considerably cheaper than a UN mission of comparable size, AMIS continually suffered cash-flow problems.

Despite these challenges, as well as its limited size and mandate, the AMIS presence did coincide with declining lethal violence. Increased media and diplomatic attention and the threat of ICC investigations likely also contributed to reducing the killing. At the same time, the increased deployment of observers, soldiers, and humanitarian staff led to greater awareness of violence, giving the impression that killings were increasing; through 2005-08, commentators routinely but inaccurately reported that “things were getting worse”[xxviii].

UN Security Council Resolutions on Sudan (2004 - 05) 

UN Security Council resolution 1547 of June 2004 created the United Nations Advance Mission in the Sudan (UNAMIS).[xxix] UNAMIS was a special political mission, mandated to monitor existing agreements and prepare for the creation of a peace operation to support implementation of the CPA. Jan Pronk was appointed SRSG for Sudan and head of UNAMIS; as the conflict in Darfur escalated, Pronk took a leading role in responding to the crisis there, which ultimately led to his expulsion in 2006.[xxx]

The UNSC issued its first stand-alone resolution on Darfur in July 2004[xxxi], banning the supply of military equipment to non-governmental entities. In August 2004, AU Chairperson Konaré suggested to Khartoum that the AU convene a high-level investigation into the Darfur conflict, modeled on the OAU’s International Panel of Eminent Personalities for Rwanda. This would allow the AU to retain control of the justice agenda, within a wider political framework that the GoS could appreciate. Khartoum refused, noting that any issues of accountability for crimes committed would be dealt with domestically.

In response, the UNSC adopted resolution 1564, which set up the International Commission of Inquiry into Darfur (ICID)[xxxii], and imposed a 30-day deadline for the GoS to “disarm the janjawiid.[xxxiii] The ICID reported in January 2005, recommending the situation in Darfur be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC). In March 2005, the UNSC adopted two more resolutions: 1591, which imposed targeted sanctions (asset freezes and travel bans) on individuals designated to be impeding the peace process, and established a Panel of Experts to monitor these measures[xxxiv]; and 1593, which referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC.[xxxv]

Khartoum’s fears that international actors would look to expand their footprint in Sudan were further reinforced in 2005, when DPKO recommended that the new United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) should comprise 10,000 troops, including full battalions in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, plus 715 UN police and well-staffed civilian components for civil affairs and human rights.

Second Darfur Peace Process: May 2004 – May 2006

The Inter-Sudanese Peace Talks on the Conflict in Darfur (between the GoS, SLA, and JEM) began shortly after the N’djamena ceasefire.[xxxvi] The AU took over from the Chadian mediators; The Darfur rebels objected to this arrangement, demanding the UN or the U.S., but accepted under U.S. pressure[xxxvii]. The GoS, being militarily secure in Darfur, was intransigent in the main negotiation; incremental progress was made on minor issues, mostly in committees and through side deals.

The negotiations were entrusted to a small AU team under the head of AU Peace and Security Department, Salim Ahmed Salim. Only one UN staff was seconded to the mediation team, and no UN observers went to the talks – a remarkable oversight, given that the UN was expected to be a major implementing partner in any resulting peace agreement. The AU and U.S. imposed a set of rolling monthly deadlines on the talks[xxxviii]. This pressure was counterproductive, and was driven primarily by domestic political concerns in the U.S., where a coalition of activists succeeded in pressuring the U.S. Congress to declare that genocide was taking place in Darfur[xxxix].

Despite that pronouncement, the administration of President George W Bush was unwilling to expend resources or political capital on Sudan. The U.S. wanted to shift this burden to the UN, which would only deploy a peace operation on the basis of some agreement between belligerents. The Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) thus came to be pursued as a formality.[xl] The parties, seeing through that charade, postured at the table while pursuing their true interests through side deals. GoS chief negotiator Dr. Majzoub al Khalifa bargained extensively to buy out individual rebel leaders.

He was helped by internal dissension in the SLA, which lost even the semblance of cohesion after the unexpected death of Dr. John Garang in July 2005. In November 2005, Zaghawa and Fur elements of the SLA had a violent falling out, with a faction led by Minni Minawi attacking the forces of erstwhile SLA Chair Abdul Wahid El Nur in Jebel Marra and Tawila.[xli] The AU then accepted both Abdel Wahid and Minawi as SLA leaders at the talks. By December 2005, Chad and Sudan were also in a state of proxy war, with JEM serving as the principal proxy for Chad. Even with these disruptions, talks continued until May 2006; on the morning of May 5, 2006, however, the DPA was signed by the GoS and only one rebel leader – Minni Minawi.

Standoff with UNSC and ICC

After the DPA was signed, the UNSC formally mandated a transition from AMIS to UNMIS in August 2006[xlii]. Under resolution 1706, UNMIS was to expand into Darfur with an additional 17,300 troops and 3,300 police, plus up to 16 formed police units, under Chapter VII authority. Khartoum flatly rejected this mandate; frustrated with the stalled negotiation, the U.S. drafted the resolution to “invite the consent” of the GoS and pushed it through the UNSC. President Bashir called the UN’s bluff – he refused to give this consent. The UN remained unwilling to deploy additional peacekeepers without a modified Status of Mission Agreement, so the state of affairs remained frozen.

Meanwhile, in April 2007, the ICC issued arrest warrants for a serving minister in the GoS, Ahmed Haroun, and a militia leader, Ali Kushayb. As Khartoum refused to surrender Haroun and Kushayb, ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo sought and obtained an arrest warrant against President Bashir[xliii], including for the difficult-to-substantiate charge of genocide. The AU PSC responded by asking the Security Council to use Article 16 of the Rome Statute to defer the arrest warrant for a year[xliv]. The PSC also established “an independent High-Level Panel… to examine the situation in depth and submit recommendations to Council on how best the issues of accountability and combating impunity, on the one hand, and reconciliation and healing, on the other, could be effectively and comprehensively addressed.”[xlv]

UNAMID: The African Union / United Nations Hybrid Mission in Darfur (2008 onward)

In July 2007, the UN and the GoS reached a compromise, leading to the deployment of the African Union/United Nations Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).[xlvi] The mandated strength of UNAMID was over 26,000 international troops, police officers, and civilian staff.[xlvii] In January 2008, UNAMID deployed with around 9000 military, police, and civilian personnel from 52 countries. At its peak, UNAMID’s mandated strength stood at 19555 military personnel, 3772 individual police units and 19 formed police units (FPU), besides a significant civilian component, although this has been scaled down since 2014. UNAMID’s current approved budget is approximately US$1.15 billion.[xlviii]

UNAMID is mandated to support implementation of the DPA, to monitor adherence to ceasefire agreements, to protect civilians and humanitarian workers, to promote rule of law and human rights, and to monitor the Sudan-Chad border. Since the adoption in 2011 of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, UNAMID has also facilitated the Darfur Internal Dialogue and Consultation (DIDC).[xlix]

UNAMID has been unable to monitor, verify and promote efforts to “disarm the Janjaweed.” Some of these groups have been absorbed into paramilitary forces. Others have defected to the rebels, particularly the JEM. Many believe that the GoS has cheated them of their reward (especially land rights) by signing the DPA; some of these groups continue to fight, including against more prosperous Arab tribes.[l] As of 2010, UNAMID was reporting intra-Arab fighting (camel-herding Abbala against cattle-herding Baggara) as the leading cause of violent deaths in Darfur.[li]

UNAMID has implemented community policing arrangements in IDP camps. The camps are yet to be completely demilitarized, as envisaged in the DPA, but the presence and activity of armed groups has been more political than military in nature.[lii] In particular, members of armed groups nominated by their communities have been trained and monitored by UNAMID, under authorization of the GoS and reporting to suitable judicial authorities. UNAMID’s own patrols have also been effective in protecting civilians in major urban centres and IDP camps from some violence (e.g. against women collecting firewood or water); however, the terrain covered by UNAMID presence is limited, and there have been reports of attacks in areas they cannot reach or are systematically prevented from patrolling.[liii] In any event, incident data indicate slowly declining levels of lethal violence.[liv]

UNAMID has also supported new peace talks between the GoS and the Sudan Revolutionary Front – a new alliance of the JEM, SLA-AW, SLA-MM (which withdrew from the DPA in 2013, rendering the original agreement void), and SPLM/A-North. In 2014, the GoS announced that it had requested UNAMID to prepare an exit strategy, calling for gradual and phased withdrawal of the mission and the return of complete responsibility for peace and security in Darfur to the GoS. As of June 2015, both the AU PSC and the UNSC have nonetheless extended UNAMID’s mandate by a further 12 months.

UNMIS: United Nations Mission in Sudan (2005 – 2011)

The original mandate of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) included providing “good offices and political support for the peace process, security aspects, governance, and humanitarian assistance and development.”[lv] The mission comprised 10,000 troops and 715 civilian police, primarily under a Chapter VI mandate, but with limited Chapter VII responsibilities to use force in protection of itself, its mission, and civilians in imminent danger of harm.[lvi] This mandate would conclude on July 9, 2011, which was the end of the interim period under the CPA.

UNMIS troop levels neared full strength (8,727 troops, 695 military observers, 186 staff officers, and 666 police officers) only by September 2006.[lvii] UNMIS became the first mission to incorporate a Protection of Civilians (PoC) section. The PoC mandate was intentionally ambiguous, letting the SRSG decide whether the capacity existed to focus on PoC at a given time.[lviii] PoC efforts focused on the most vulnerable groups: IDPs, returning refugees, women, and children.

The UNMIS mandate to support implementation of the CPA included the Protocol on Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile of May 2004. The JMC thus handed over operations in South Kordofan to UNMIS in May 2005.[lix] To the JMC’s tasks of ceasefire monitoring, assisting humanitarian access, and support to community-level and cross-line dialogue, UNMIS added on disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR), facilitating the return of displaced persons and refugees, and coordinating bilateral support to creation of Joint Integrated Units (JIU).[lx]

UNMIS received a mixed welcome in Southern Kordofan, as the CPA itself was unpopular among the Nuba. Having experienced decades of warfare, exploitation, and forced displacement into GoS “peace camps”, they were unhappy that the CPA left them no option to secede. In addition, the UNMIS battalion in Southern Kordofan was drawn from Egypt, and Egyptian troops were (correctly) seen by the locals as partial towards Khartoum and the Arabs.

The GoS provided little support to economic development, and wealth-sharing measures did not materialize.[lxi] Elections in Southern Kordofan were postponed until May 2011. UNMIS provided logistical assistance to the election process, but neither monitored nor certified the results. 

Of the security provisions under the CPA, the separation of forces was successfully accomplished. Dissolution of other armed groups in southern Sudan was rendered moot by the January 2006 Juba Agreement, which integrated the Southern Sudan Defence Force into the SPLA, soon to be followed by other militia. The JIU were created in name, but never truly integrated – their components continued to observe their own chains of command, and were a source of conflict on multiple occasions. Clashes broke out between JIU elements in Malakal in 2006 and 2009[lxii], and in Jonglei in 2011.[lxiii] JIU elements were also the source of the conflict that burnt down large parts of Abyei town in 2008.

In October 2007, the SPLM/A threatened to unilaterally withdraw from the CPA and cease participating in the unity government. This was, in effect, a threat to restart the civil war: DDR processes had not even commenced, because the parties had been unable to agree on procedures for their implementation, and large numbers of fighters could still be martialed at short notice. UNMIS was not well positioned to respond to this instability, but AU-led political intervention was able to resolve the crisis before conflict broke out again.

The CPA’s DDR provisions were never effectively implemented. No “peace dividend” was realized from downsizing of armies, as the interim period witnessed a massive expansion in military spending in both northern and southern Sudan. UNMIS worked with the Sudan and Southern Sudan DDR Commissions in the Integrated UN DDR Unit (UNMIS, UNDP, UNICEF, WFP, and WHO), which adopted a “Three Areas First” approach to work in Blue Nile, Southern Kordofan, and Abyei. Despite receiving $55 million in international funding, the DDR process had reached only 12,000 out of a targeted 90,000 ex-combatants in southern Sudan by 2011.[lxiv] Particularly as it became clear that southern Sudan would vote to secede, militia members had shrinking incentives to participate sincerely in DDR.

In 2011, the UN sought to extend its presence in northern Sudan beyond the June deadline, citing continuing security concerns and unfinished CPA implementation.[lxv] Despite concerns that UNMIS would be seen to be running away just as a conflict erupted (with echoes of Rwanda in 1994), the UN could not overrule GoS objections to this mandate extension. As anticipated, fighting did break out in Southern Kordofan – including between erstwhile JIU elements in Kadugli – and Blue Nile. Thousands of people descended upon the UNMIS camp seeking refuge, but UN forces could provide no protection to these IDPs; when UNMIS evacuated as scheduled in July, these people were abandoned. Only in Abyei was the UNMIS presence replaced by the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).

UNMIS in Abyei

Southwest of the Nuba Mountains, the Abyei region has long witnessed seasonal cattle-raiding-based confrontations between the semi-settled agro-pastoralist Dinka tribe and Misseriya baggara (cattle-herding) nomads who migrate south from Darfur. This area was addressed in its own protocol under the CPA[lxvi], and UNMIS was tasked to assist with border demarcation, the establishment of joint administration, sharing of oil revenues, and the conduct of a referendum on the final administrative status of the region.

The Abyei Protocol created the Abyei Boundaries Commission, which proposed boundaries for the region based on a principle of equitable division.[lxvii] The GoS and Misseriya leaders rejected these findings, and acrimony remained high. In May 2008, GoS and SPLA elements of an ostensibly integrated unit fought a pitched battle in Abyei town, leaving much of the town burned to rubble.

UNMIS facilitated the negotiation of a new Abyei Roadmap Agreement[lxviii], which addressed immediate concerns of security and interim administration, and referred the boundary dispute to the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The Court’s decision in 2009[lxix] declared that significant oil-producing regions were not part of Abyei.

The boundaries set by the Court also prevented Misseriya living outside the specified areas from voting in the Abyei referendum. Misseriya leaders threatened to attack anyone surveying or marking these boundaries. By late 2010, with no progress on implementing the Court’s decision, conducting a census, or preparing electoral roles, it was clear that no referendum could be held in Abyei. Both the GoS and the SPLA continued to build up their forces in Abyei, with SPLA fighters allegedly posing as members of the Abyei police.

In May 2011, following SPLA ambushes of SAF soldiers[lxx], the GoS summarily dissolved the Abyei interim administration, disbanded the JIU, and seized control of Abyei. In June, even as renewed fighting broke out in Kadugli and Blue Nile, GoS forces occupied the area around the Diffra oilfield, and Misseriya militia largely took control of Abyei town. As in the Nuba Mountains, UNMIS was largely unable to fulfil its PoC or DDR mandates in Abyei, and pulled out before it could respond to this renewal of conflict.

UNISFA: United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei (June 2011 – )

Under AUHIP mediation, the GoS and SPLM concluded an agreement on temporary administration and security in Abyei in June 2011.[lxxi] The agreement itself envisaged the creation of an interim security force for Abyei[lxxii], consisting of a brigade of the Ethiopian National Defense Force under an Ethiopian Force Commander, and with a limited mandate focused on demilitarization and security provision. Based on those detailed guidelines, the UNSC mandated UNISFA in June 2011.[lxxiii]

Khartoum’s precondition for accepting this mission was that the mandate, tasks and composition of the force would be explicitly restricted to those approved by the GoS. The GoS chief negotiator, Nafie Ali Nafie, agreed to sign the June 20 agreement only after receiving a personal reassurance from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the U.S. would ensure the adopted the mandate specified therein, and from Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi that it would be an exclusively Ethiopian force of the specified size and composition.

Subsequent UNSC efforts to make UNISFA structure more consistent with standard UN practice by creating the post of SRSG (senior to the force commander) have been resisted by the GoS and Ethiopia. UNISFA deployed 1800 personnel (of a mandated strength of 4250) to Abyei in August 2011, to oversee the demilitarization of the Abyei area, specifically by monitoring and verifying the redeployment of GoS and SPLA forces, as also to ensure humanitarian access, assist in demining, train the Abyei police, and provide security to oil installations when required. In 2015, UNISFA had grown to 4366 uniformed personnel (including 28 police officers) and around 200 civilian staff, against an authorized strength of 5326 military personnel and 50 police officers, at a budget of just under US$319 million.

UNISFA has a Chapter VII mandate to use force to protect itself, other UN and humanitarian personnel, and civilians under imminent threat; UNISFA can also use force to protect the Abyei area from “unauthorized elements” and to provide security to the Abyei area. UNISFA is not mandated to support the implementation of the CPA; the implication is that UNISFA was to be a technical mission with a narrow focus, which would not engage in the political peace process.

In December 2011, however, this mandate was broadened[lxxiv] to include assisting the GoS and GoSS in developing effective bilateral management mechanisms for their joint border, and providing liaison and force protection capacities for the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM).[lxxv] UNISFA has also supported inter-community dialogue between Misseriya and Dinka leaders in Abyei. These efforts were disrupted by the killing of Ngok Dinka paramount chief Kuol Deng Kuol in May 2013, while he was traveling in an UNISFA convoy that was ambushed by Misseriya fighters; one UNISFA peacekeeper was also killed in the attack. An investigation into this incident, as well as a reconciliation meeting of traditional leaders, has been proposed but not yet concluded.[lxxvi]

After Kuol’s assassination, the Dinka leaders have grown increasingly hostile to the GoS. Following a proposal by the AUHIP in October 2013 regarding the conduct of the Abyei referendum, thousands of Dinka voted in a self-organized “referendum”; the results showed a clear preference to join with South Sudan, but were dismissed by the GoS and Misseriya leaders as being irrelevant.[lxxvii] UNISFA has not taken any stance on this referendum; particularly since the outbreak of civil war in South Sudan in December 2013, the mission has focused on its core task of protecting Abyei from armed incursions that may once again trigger the cycle of proxy warfare.



1. Peacekeeping in the political marketplace

Where conflict or violence is a normalized part of governance, peacekeeping is effective only to the extent and for the duration that it can physically complete its objectives. In this scenario, exit strategy or sustainable peace will hinge on transformation of the political system itself: not necessarily regime change, but certainly a change in structural characteristics, behaviours, and habits of the regime.

2. Need for local political engagement

The ability of a peace operation to improve human security in any given area, and to make such improvements sustainable, depends on the support of the parties which actually possess the requisite capacity in each local context. To an extent, this capacity can be built in the course of peacekeeping itself, but such engagement is fundamentally political in nature: creating or modifying systems, relationships, and incentive structures that reinforce the changes the mission hopes to bring.

3. Centrality of good-faith peace agreements

A peace operation cannot succeed in supporting the peace process in an internal conflict if it deploys under the auspices of a peace agreement that lacks viability and local legitimacy. The 2004 N’djamena Agreement, which formed the basis for AMIS deployment, was fatally flawed. The DPA was clearly unworkable when the SLA-AW and JEM refused to sign; it has since been rendered moot by the withdrawal and return to rebellion of the SLA-MM. The Darfur peace processes reveal that this lack of good-faith agreement is an outcome deliberately created by the parties, whose engagement with peace negotiations is more tactical than sincere. International legitimacy is valued more highly than peace, because it is a lever to power, and such peace agreements are likely to be renegotiated if political market conditions shift.[lxxviii]

4. Managing host government consent

Successful day-to-day conduct of a peace operation is deeply dependent on the host state. “Tactical denial of consent” by the host government can completely undermine the mission. UNMIS could not deploy to Darfur in the absence of formal GoS consent; UNAMID received consent in principle, but faces delays or denial of customs clearances and visas, lack of response from local authorities, (partly sincere) claims of helplessness in controlling various armed groups, and physical obstruction in access. The more complex the logistics involved, the greater the opportunities for obstruction, and every peace operation has to negotiate the consent of multiple actors (including powerful non-state actors) if it is to be effective on the ground.[lxxix]

5. Small measures can improve human security

A better understanding of and closer cooperation with local communities wherever a peace operation seeks to operate can have multiple benefits, including a deeper appreciation of conflict dynamics, access to better intelligence, and the building of political capital that can be leveraged by mission leadership in its good offices role. This was best illustrated by the JMC, but all of the peace operations in Sudan have experienced success in reducing levels of violence in particular areas at particular times. The gains to human security from reduction in sexual violence against women, reduction in crime through community policing arrangements, and reduction in violence by resolving cattle-raiding cases are noteworthy examples.

6. Building infrastructure for peacekeeping and peacebuilding

The secretariat of the organisation deploying a peace operation has a key role to play in managing the logistical challenges inherent in deploying any peace operation. Peacekeepers must be deployed with adequate training, equipment, and local knowledge and connections to be able to respond – physically and politically – to evolving situations on the ground. The secretariat must secure adequate funding, equipment, and skilled manpower, as well as provide the political backing by liaising with capitals of troop contributing countries, the host state, and other regional states with the ability to influence the course of conflict. This does not mean that an elaborate secretariat is required for every mission, but the administrative capacity must be sufficient for the mission’s size and complexity of mandate.

7. Sequencing and coordination of political pressure by international actors

Peace operations must be part of a sustained and coherent political process. Each such action by international organisations has enduring consequences, including upon the level of trust enjoyed by international actors in general. The challenge is that those international actors each have their own domestic constituencies and interests, and their engagement is not necessarily coordinated or sequenced into a coherent strategy. If such domestic interests become dominant, the peace operation is likely to serve an extrinsic political purpose, rather than furthering the peace.

8. Environment and responsiveness are more important than mission footprint

The JMC clearly illustrates that a mission with modest means and capacities can succeed if it operates with the cooperation of major parties to the conflict. The JMC focused on creating perceptible gains in security through its patrols, de-mining, and mediation, gaining it the goodwill of the communities of the region. Despite these gains, GoS and the SPLA (Nuba) interests shifted once the CPA was signed, and the environment was no longer permissive. The GoS stonewalled; UNMIS was unable to compel their compliance, and came to be resented by the Nuba. To compound this problem, UNMIS was less nimble than the JMC, which could seek direct instructions from diplomats in Khartoum. This is a difficult arrangement for an international organisation to replicate, but the lesson remains valid: a rigid and slow mandating authority will constrain a mission to limited responses, even when mission leaders know that these are mismatched with realities on the ground.

9. Nomadic populations and returnees are particular challenges to security

Conflicts involving the movements of nomadic populations confound typical patrol or presence-based approaches to security. UNMIS and UNISFA security cordons in Abyei, for instance, fail to address both Dinka fears of Misseriya incursions beyond their normal seasonal routes, and Misseriya fears of losing access to those routes and critical dry-season pastures. Traditional mechanisms are likely in place to manage seasonal disputes; peace operations may be able to support those mechanisms instead of trying to enforce formal border claims. This pattern is exacerbated by disputes arising from displacement, as where returnees claim their land has been settled by others in their absence. Titles or records may be unreliable, unavailable, or destroyed in the conflict, so the ultimate resolution of such disputes may be beyond peace operation’s mandate role; a mission that is aware of this challenge may be able to refer such disputes to some political process that enjoys local legitimacy.

10. Challenges to operationalizing a Protection of Civilians mandate

The experience of UNMIS illustrates the challenges of putting a PoC mandate into practice, especially as UNMIS was the first mission to operationalize the concept specifically through a PoC section. The concept itself was poorly defined, and there were observable differences between the mandate, what was envisioned at DPKO HQ, and how PoC was implemented in the field[lxxx]. Within UNMIS, PoC was sometimes seen as tacked on to the “real” mandate of CPA implementation, leading to capacity issues and differing perceptions of priorities in how to enact it. To the extent that PoC activities became more effective over the course of the mission, it required the adoption of a comprehensive strategy in 2008-2009.[lxxxi]


III. Literature Review

Reports/Scholarly Works: Darfur

Counter-insurgency on the Cheap – Alex de Waal, Review of African Political Economy (2004).

Drawing on the author’s personal experience of living with the Um Jalul tribe – the erstwhile janjawiid of Musa Hilal – this article describes the strategic use of tribal militia by the Government of Sudan as a form of unpaid (or, rather, self-paying) counter-insurgency force in its wars against its peripheries. The article helps understand the origin of the janjawiid, and their particular patterns of violence, warfare, pillage, and loyalty.

No Ownership, No Peace: The Darfur Peace Agreement – Laurie Nathan, Crisis States Research Centre Working Paper #5 (2006).

Drawing on the author’s personal experience as a member of the AU mediation team that produced the DPA, this article explains how a combination of “deadline diplomacy”, the interests of participants, and the humanitarian-crisis-driven urgency for a negotiated agreement led to the peace process in Abuja adopting an un-implementable agreement. 

The African Mission in Sudan: Darfur Dilemmas – Seth Appiah-Mensah, African Security Review 15.1 (2006).

Drawing on the author’s experience as Military Adviser to Head of Mission in AMIS and one of the first AMIS officers in Darfur, this article looks at the personnel and logistics-related challenges faced by AMIS in its initial deployment and despite the expansion to ‘AMIS II’. It examines the role of funding, partnerships, and clarity on mandate as constraints on the effectiveness of regional peacekeeping.

War in Darfur and the Search for Peace – Alex de Waal (ed.) (2007).

This collection of essays covers the nature of native administration in Darfur, the origins and sources of conflict, the nature and organization of the rebel movements, and a particularly detailed account of the Abuja Peace Process leading up to the signing of the DPA. Other contributions also provide insights into the unprecedented American civil society support for Darfur, and the reception of the DPA on the ground.

Darfur: A New History of a Long War – Julie Flint and Alex de Waal (2008).

A detailed account of the nature, origins and impact of conflict in Darfur, this book covers the different phases of war in Darfur. It is particularly useful for illustrating the different patterns of violence between 2003-04, 2005-06, and in the period following the DPA, as well as explaining the identities and organization of major parties to the conflict: the Government of Sudan, the rebel groups, and the so-called janjawiid.

Livelihoods, Power and Choice: The Vulnerability of the Northern Rizaygat of Darfur, Sudan – Helen Young et al, Feinstein International Center (2009).

A livelihoods analysis of the Northern Rizaygat – the major landless abbala pastoralist tribe in Darfur, and the one most closely associated with the janjawiid. This article explains the ways in which conflict, climate change, and the changing social connotations of tribal identity have led to the development of mal-adaptive livelihoods (including militia activity) among members and groups of the tribe

Darfurian Voices: Documenting Darfurian Refugees’ Views on Issues of Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation – “24 Hours for Darfur” (2009).

This study of refugees’ opinions covered a representative sample of 2,152 refugees from Darfur at 12 camps in Chad from April to July 2009. The report provides valuable first-hand information on the views held by Darfurian refugees in Chad on issues of peace, justice, and reconciliation (including their impressions of the DPA); it is the only methodologically robust, large-sample study with Darfurian populations.

Beyond ‘Janjaweed’: Understanding the Militias of Darfur – Julie Flint, Small Arms Survey HSBA Working Paper #17 (2009).

A nuanced analysis of the prevalence of militias and militia-centric strategies in the conflict in Darfur, this article is essential in understanding the difficulties and limitations inherent in the UN SC mandate to “disarm the janjawiid”, and more broadly with approaching the coflict through a purely ethnic / religious lens.

Mission Without End? Peacekeeping in the African Political Marketplace – Alex de Waal, International Affairs (2009).

This article examines the underlying political institutions in Sudan, and explains how the existing model of a political marketplace complicates both peacemaking and peacekeeping. In particular, it suggests that gains made by a peace operation are fragile and reversible, as they are partly a function of prevailing “market conditions”.

The Other War: Intra-Arab Conflict in Darfur – Julie Flint, Small Arms Survey HSBA Working Paper #22 (2010).

To be read in conjunction with Flint’s earlier Working Paper, this article examines patterns of mortality in conflict in Darfur in the period following the signing of the DPA and the deployment of UNAMID. It further illustrates how the prevalence of militia strategies has continued to drive inter-tribal conflict, although now along intra-Arab divides.

To Paint the Nile Blue: Factors for success and failure of UNMIS and UNAMID – Jair van der Lijn, Clingendael Institute (2013).

This article reviews the experience of UNMIS and UNAMID, in the context of Sudanese politics and conflict, to assess factors contributing to their success or failure. It identifies the importance of a long-term strategy, in conjunction with sincere engagement by parties and adequate tools and resources at the disposal of the mission, to the success of peace operations.

They Just Stood Watching / Now We Will Kill You / A Mission Set Up to Fail – Colum Lynch, Foreign Policy (2014).

This series of three articles, published in April 2014, investigative reports that UNAMID has failed to protect civilians, and even covered up violations by the Government of Sudan. The primary source is a set of documents provided by a “whistleblower” and former spokesperson of UNAMID, Aicha Elbasri.

Challenges and Prospects of AU-UN Hybrid Operations: The UNAMID Experience – Abiodun Bashua, Journal of International Peacekeeping 18 (2014).

Drawing on the author’s experience as Director of Political Affairs Division in UNMIS and UNAMID, this article examines both the rationale and the process of transition from AMIS to UNAMID, assesses the benefits and challenges of a hybrid operation, and considers the ways in which UNAMID’s experience will shape future decisions on the use of hybrid operations in African conflicts.


Reports/Scholarly Work: JMC, UNMIS, UNISFA

Arenas-García, Nahuel, “The UNMIS in South Sudan: Challenges and Dilemmas,” The Institute of Studies on Conflicts and Humanitarian Action, July 2010

This brief discusses the shortfalls of UNMIS and its inability to address the root causes of the conflict. The paper has a nice explanation of the Chapter VI mandate, with limited Chapter VII responsibly and explains that UNMIS’ capacity and resources do not align with the Chapter VII expectations. UNMIS has minimal capacity to provide protection and address the security situation, although its mandate refers to these complex tasks and the international community has these expectations. Arenas-García’s paper was useful in understanding broader challenges and dilemmas.

Giffen, Alison, “Considerations for a New Peacekeeping Operation in South Sudan: Preventing Conflict and Protecting Civilian (Working Paper),” The Stimson Center, April/May 2011

Although the main focus of this working paper is on recommendations for creating a peacekeeping force in South Sudan (UNMISS), one section clearly highlights PoC lessons learned from UNMIS. Giffen points to planning and deployment, lack of comprehensive strategy and approach, UNMIS’ North-South presence, lack of guidance, and leadership as the major lessons learned in PoC from UNMIS, that should be applied to UNMISS.

Jon Harald Sand Lie and Benjamin de Carvalho, “The Tension between UN HQ and the Field in Implementing the Protection of Civilians,” Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, April 2009

This article outlines the development of the concept of PoC, within the UN, DPKO, and UNMIS itself. It describes the major challenges facing UNMIS’ implementation of PoC – broad, undefined concept left open to interpretation. The authors argue that a disconnect between the UN Security Council resolution, UN HQ, and UNMIS field staff resulted in difficulties for operationalizing the protection aspect of the mandate.

“Rethinking DDR in Post-Independence Sudan,” IRIN (news article), July 8, 2011

This analytic piece by IRIN gives an overview of the challenges to DDR during UNMIS’ tenure and after South Sudan gained independence. The article cites reasons relevant to coordinating bodies and the UN mission as a whole – poverty, high military salaries, and delays in starting the formal DDR process.

Land, Territoriality and Ethnic Identities in the Nuba Mountains – Leif Manger, Nomadic-Sedentary Relations and Failing State Institutions in Darfur and Kordofan (Sudan) (2008): 71-100.

This piece examines the experience of conflict by the Nuba people as driven by competing claims to land in South Kordofan, and deliberately shaped along ethnic lines by the major participants in the conflict. It provides a more nuanced understanding of Nuba ethnic identity, including the extent to which it is manipulated for various political and economics ends.

Revisiting the Nuba Mountains – Julie Flint, African Arguments (2008).

First-hand report from a visit to the Nuba Mountains. The author was at the funeral of Yusuf Kuwa Mekki, which was attacked by GoS forces. The attack, repulsed by Yusuf’s successor Abdel Aziz Adam El Hilu, was the last major action by the GoS against the SPLM/A-N in the period before the secession of South Sudan. Documents the lack of development in the post-CPA period, and the insecurity in the region as the SPLA withdrew to South Sudan.

The Genesis of Recurring Wars in Sudan: Rethinking the Violent Conflicts in the Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan - Richard Rottenburg, Guma Kunda Komey, and Enrico Ille (2011).

A conflict analysis examining violence in the Nuba Mountains through the ceasefire and CPA periods (2002 – 2011), which explains the recurrence of conflict as part of a pattern of polarization, where both politics and military action are perceived and pursued as part of the same zero-sum game between the GoS and the SPLM/A.

Learning from the Nuba: Civilian Resilience and Self-Protection during Conflict – Justin Corbett, Local to Global Protection (2011).

This piece is primarily a study of self-protection strategies employed by the Nuba peoples. It includes a section on local perceptions of the efficacy of peacekeeping; many respondents contrast their positive impressions of the JMC with the perception that UNMIS was siding with the GoS, or in any case unable to prevent attacks by GoS forces or militias.

Creating Facts on the Ground: Conflict Dynamics in Abyei – Joshua Craze, Small Arms Survey HSBA Working Paper #26 (2011).

A detailed account of the evolution of conflict in Abyei, particularly in the post-2011 period, examining the failure to conduct the referendum and the effect of the unilateral Ngok Dinka referendum in its stead. This piece also surveys the actors in the conflict, and examines the positions of various stakeholders, to explain why Abyei’s future remains a political conundrum.

Return to War in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains – Julie Flint, United States Institute of Peace, PeaceBrief #112 (2011).

This report documents the increasing insecurity and return to armed conflict in the Nuba Mountains, noting that in this case the rebellion is no longer driven primarily from Juba, but rather a product of the Nuba people’s own demands and aspirations. It also notes that the GoS is seeking to negotiate a partial solution that still stops short of the provisions of the CPA for South Kordofan, and that this gap is likely to produce further armed violence.

The Nuba Mountains, Sudan – Alex de Waal, in Samuel Totten (ed.), Centuries of Genocide: Essays and Eyewitness Accounts (2012).

This piece provides a summary of the patterns of conflict in South Kordofan, detailing how it was intended to be a policy of genocide, and the devastation caused by the combination of attacks, deportation, sexual violence, and blockade. Following the theoretical introduction, it provides a number of personal accounts from survivors of the conflict, which illustrate the nature and extent of violence against the Nuba people.

Peacemaking and Peacekeeping: Reflections from Abyei – Chris Johnson, International Peacekeeping 19, no. 5 (2012): 640-654.

Drawing on the author’s experience as head of UNMIS in Abyei, the article examines the CPA and the process of its implementation, noting that failure to prevent conflict in the region is part of a broader lack of comprehensive strategy for tackling conflict in Sudan. The author draws broader lessons for peace processes and peace agreements from this experience, in particular the need to ensure that peace operations deploy with the leverage required to overcome political deadlock in the implementation phase.

At an Impasse: The Conflict in Blue Nile – Claudio Gramizzi, Small Arms Survey HSBA Working Paper #31 (2013).

An analysis of conflict between the GoS and SPLM/A in Blue Nile state between 2011 and 2013. Examines the linkages and similarities between the conflict in Blue Nile and South Kordofan, including the GoS response of combined airborne bombardment and ground assaults by paramilitaries. Details the humanitarian consequences of the violence, and also the ways in which it is relatively separate from broader Sudan / South Sudan impasse.

New War, Old Enemies: Conflict Dynamics in South Kordofan - Claudio Gramizzi & Jérôme Tubiana, Small Arms Survey HSBA Working Paper #29 (2013).

An analysis of conflict between the GoS and SPLM/A in South Kordofan in 2011-12, including its relation to the Sudan / South Sudan conflict along the South Kordofan / Unity border over Jaw and Heglig. Notes that, while the conflict again seems likely to end in military stalemate, it is far less amenable to a political solution because elements of the GoS feel that they continue to be ostracized by the international community despite concessions on South Sudan and Darfur (and humanitarian access to South Kordofan), while the SPLM/A-N has become more radical, with its demands for regime change.

Human Security Baseline Assessment (HSBA) for Sudan and South Sudan: Update on Abyei – Small Arms Survey (2015)

This piece provides the most recent account from the Abyei region. It notes the political deadlock in the past year, with no negotiations taking place on Abyei, especially as South Sudan focuses on its internal troubles. It notes that UNISFA presence has been accounted for in the GoS strategy, and that GoS forces continue to occupy the Diffra oilfield; both the Dinka and the Misseriya leaders have complaints with the location of the UNISFA security cordon.+

AU Documents, Agreements: Darfur

The Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement and Protocol on the Establishment of Humanitarian Assistance (N’djamena Agreement), 8 April 2004.
AU PSC Communiqué, 10th Meeting (Decision on the Crisis in the Darfur Region of Sudan / AMIS Mandate), 25 May 2004.
Status of Mission Agreement (SOMA) on the Establishment and Management of the Ceasefire Commission in the Darfur Area of the Sudan, 4 June 2004.
Protocol on the Enhancement of the Security Situation in Darfur in accordance with the N’djamena Agreement, 11 November 2004.
AU PSC, Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the Situation in Darfur (The Sudan), 12th Meeting, 4 July 2004.

AU PSC Communiqué, 17th Meeting (“AMIS II” Mandate), 20 October 2004.

Declaration of Principles for the Resolution of the Sudanese Conflict in Darfur, 5 July 2005.

Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), 5 May 2006.

AU PSC Communiqué, 46th Meeting (Handover from AMIS to UN mission), 10 March 2006.

AU PSC, Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the Status of the Implementation of the Peace and Security Council Decision of 10 March 2006 on the Situation in Darfur and the Conclusion of the Abuja Peace Talks, 51st Meeting, 15 May 2006.

AU PSC Communiqué, 142nd Meeting (Warrant of Arrest against President of the Republic of Sudan by the ICC), 21 July 2008.

Report of the AU High-Level Panel on Darfur (Darfur: The Quest for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation / “Mbeki Report”), at AU PSC 207th Meeting, 29 October 2009.

AU PSC Communiqué, 207th Meeting (Establishment of AU High-Level Implementation Panel on Darfur), 29 October 2009.

Framework Agreement to Resolve the Conflict in Darfur between the Government of Sudan and Liberation and Justice Movement, 18 March 2010.

Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), 14 July 2011.
AU Documents, Agreements: JMC, UNMIS, UNISFA

Declaration of Principles for the Resolution of the Nuba Mountains’ Problem (Sudan), 31 July 1996 (in Khartoum Peace Agreement, 21 April 1997).

Nuba Mountains Ceasefire Agreement, 20 January 2002.

Machakos Protocol, 20 July 2002.

Protocol between the Government Of Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) on the Resolution of Conflict In Southern Kordofan/Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile States (“Two Areas Protocol”), 26 May 2004.

Protocol between the Government Of Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) on the Resolution of Abyei Conflict (“Abyei Protocol”), 26 May 2004.

Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) / Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), 9 January 2005.

Abyei Boundaries Commission Report, 14 July 2005.

Abyei Roadmap Agreement, 8 June 2008.

Agreement between the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) on Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area, 20 June 2011.

AU Commission Communique, “The African Union strongly condemns the killing of the Paramount Chief of the Ngok Dinka community and a United Nations Peacekeeper in Abyei”, 5 May 2013.

AU PSC Communique, 374th Meeting (Condemns killing of Ngok Dinka Paramount Chief and UNISFA Peacekeeper in Ambush), 7 May 2013.

AU Commission Communique, “The African Union strongly condemns the holding of a Unilateral “Referendum” in Abyei”, 28 October 2013.

Paris Declaration of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) and the National Umma Party (NUP), 15 August 2014.

AU PSC Communique, 456th Meeting (Notes adoption of Paris Declaration, and endorses AUHIP support to negotiations on cessation of hostilities in the Two Areas and Darfur to be conducted “in a synchronized manner”), 12 September 2014.

Resolutions of the 9th Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC), 29-30 March 2015.

AU Commission Communique, “The African Union expresses disappointment at the postponement of the Abyei Traditional Leaders Meeting”, 24 June 2015.

United Nations Documents: Darfur

Joint Communiqué between the Government of Sudan and the UN on the Occasion of the Visit of the Secretary-General to Sudan, 3 July 2004.

UNSC resolution 1556, 30 July 2004. (Includes 30-day deadline to “disarm the Janjaweed”)

UNSC resolution 1564, 18 September 2004. (Creation of International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur)

UNSC resolution 1574, 19 November 2004. (Endorses “AMIS II” Mandate)

Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to the UN Secretary-General, 25 January 2005.

UNSC resolution 1591, 29 March 2005. (Sanctions and Panel of Experts) 

UNSC resolution 1593, 31 March 2005. (Referral of Darfur to ICC) 

UNSC resolution 1672, 25 April 2006. (Extends sanctions to Musa Hilal)

UNSC resolution 1679, 16 May 2006. (Endorses DPA and transition from AMIS to UN mission)

UNSC resolution 1706, 31 August 2006. (UNMIS mandate and strength expanded to operate in Darfur)

ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I, Warrant of Arrest against Ahmad Harun; Warrant of Arrest against Ali Kushayb, 27 April 2007.

UNSC resolution 1769, 31 July 2007 (UNAMID mandate)

UNSC resolution 1828, 31 July 2008 (Extension of UNAMID mandate; did not defer investigation into Darfur as requested by AU PSC)

ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I, Warrant of Arrest against Omar Al Bashir, 4 March 2009.

UNSC resolution 2228, 29 Jun 2015 (Most recent extension of UNAMID mandate; reduces  strength to 15,845 military personnel, 1,583 police personnel and 13 formed police units of up to 140 personnel each)

UNMIS, Office of the Spokesperson, Press Release 011 – “The Joint Military Commission hands over its operations in Nuba Mountains to the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS)”, 20 May 2005.
UNMIS Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), 28 December 2005.
Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement / Army (On Delimiting Abyei Area), Final Award, July 22 2009.
UN SC resolution 1990, 27 June 2011. (UNISFA mandate)
UN SC resolution 2024, 14 December 2011. (Expands UNISFA mandate to include support to GoS - GoSS bilateral mechanisms.)
Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Abyei, 24 May 2012 (notes attempted movements by SPLM/A forces and elements of the PDF, around the time of the Misseriya reverse migration.)
Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Abyei, 27 November 2013 (notes GoSS withdrawal from JBVMM, leading to suspension of the mechanism).
Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Abyei, 23 July 2014 (notes GoSS resumption of participation in JVBMM, and re-initiation of aerial surveillance of the designated safe demilitarized border zone).
Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Abyei, 30 January 2015
Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Abyei, 29 April 2015
Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Abyei, 16 June 2015.
UN SC resolution 2230, 14 July 2015 (UNISFA mandate renewal until 14 December 2015).

[i] i.e. the SPLA in the Nuba Mountains. Not to be confused with the SPLA in its entirety.

[ii] Nuba Mountains Ceasefire Agreement, 20 January 2002.

[iii] Simon Mason. Learning from the Swiss Mediation and Facilitation Experiences in Sudan, Swisspeace Mediation Support Project Working Paper (2007).

[iv] U.S.A., U.K., Canada, Switzerland, Norway, Germany, Italy, France, and the Netherlands.

[v] Paula Souverijn-Eisenberg. “Lessons Learned from the Joint Military Commission,”  DPKO Peacekeeping Best Practices Section, New York: United Nations, Aug 2005.

[vi] The U.S. engaged de-mining contractors, who worked in tandem with the JMC to prioritise areas that communities identified as important to their livelihoods.

[vii] Hilde Johnson. Waging Peace in Sudan, Apollo Books (2011).

[viii] Justin Corbett. “Learning from the Nuba”, Local to Global Protection, October 2011.

[ix] “The background to Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement,” UNMIS website

[x] Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Annexure I: Permanent Ceasefire and Security Arrangements Implementation Modalities and Appendices, 31 December 2004, para 15.1, CPA, p. 106.

[xi] Alex de Waal. “The Wars of Sudan,” The Nation, March 1, 2007

[xii] Alex de Waal. “Who are the Darfurians? Arab and African identities, violence and external engagement.” African Affairs, 2005, 104.415: 181-205

[xiii] Roland Marchal. “The Unseen Regional Implications of the Crisis in Darfur”, War in Darfur and the Search for Peace. Harvard University Press, 2007, 173-198.

[xiv] Alex de Waal. “Darfur and the Failure of the Responsibility to Protect”, International Affairs, 2007, 83.6: 1039-1054.

[xv] Alex de Waal. “Counter-insurgency on the Cheap”, Review of African Political Economy, 2004, 716-725.

[xvi] Alex de Waal, “Sudan: Patterns of Violence and Imperfect Endings,” in Bridget Conley-Zilkic, (ed.) How Mass Atrocities End, Cambridge 2016

[xvii] Marchal, “The Unseen Regional Implications of the Crisis in Darfur”.

[xviii] Dawit Toga, “The African Union Mediation and the Darfur Peace Talks,” in Alex de Waal (ed.) War in Darfur and the Search for Peace, Cambridge MA, Harvard University Press, 2007.

[xix] “Humanitarian Cease Fire Agreement on the Conflict in Darfur - GoS version”, WPF Sudan Peace Archive (AdW AUHIP Papers), 8 April 2004.

[xx] Initial contingent of 150 Rwandese soldiers, soon backed up by 150 Nigerian soldiers.

[xxi] “Agreement with the Sudanese Parties on the Modalities for the Establishment of the Ceasefire Commission and the Deployment of Observers in the Darfur”, WPF Sudan Peace Archive (AdW AUHIP Papers), 28 May 2004.

[xxii] “Briefing Note on renewal of the mandate of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS)”, AU PSC, 42nd Meeting, Addis Ababa, 20 October 2004.

[xxiii] African Union Peace and Security Council, 17th Meeting, 20 October 2004, Communiqué, PSC/PR/Comm. (XVII)

[xxiv] “Working Document on the Enhancement of the African Mission in Sudan,” First Meeting of the Military Staff Committee of the Peace and Security Council, Addis Ababa, 18 October 2004, PSC/MSC(2)1

[xxv] Henri Boshoff. “African Union Mission in Sudan: Technical and Operational Dimensions”, African Security Review, Vol. 14 No. 3 (2005).

[xxvi] Personal communication to Alex de Waal, Abuja, March 2006.

[xxvii] Brian Steidle, The Devil Came on Horseback: Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur, New York, Public Affairs Publishers, 2008.

[xxviii] Alex de Waal and Sam Rosmarin, “Are Things Getting Worse in Darfur? There is no simple answer,” Making Sense of Darfur,

[xxix] UN Security Council Resolution 1547, June 11, 2004


[xxxi] United Nations Security Council resolution 1556 (30 July 2004)

[xxxii] UNSC resolution 1564, 18 September 2004, para. 12

[xxxiii] United Nations Security Council resolution 1564 (18 September 2004)

[xxxiv] United Nations Security Council resolution 1591 (29 March 2005)

[xxxv] United Nations Security Council resolution 1593 (31 March 2005)

[xxxvi] Dawit Toga, “The African Union Mediation and the Darfur Peace Talks.”

[xxxvii] The AU narrowly avoided a serious challenge to the legitimacy of its mediation role. Sudan was to assume the Chair of the organization in July 2005 – a transition scheduled a year earlier, when the CPA was expected to give President Bashir a new shine as the continent’s newest peacemaker and democrat. The Darfur crisis intervened; African leaders decided discreetly to extend Nigeria’s chairmanship for an extra six months, until the Khartoum summit of January 2006, hoping that the Darfur conflict would be settled by that time. As this hope failed, at the Khartoum summit, AU heads of state met in closed session for almost a whole day, until Pres. Bashir reluctantly stood down his candidacy.

[xxxviii] Laurie Nathan. “The Making and Unmaking of the Darfur Peace Agreement,” in Alex de Waal (ed.) War in Darfur and the Search for Peace, Cambridge MA, Harvard University Press, 2007.

[xxxix] United States Congress, H.Con.Res.467 - Declaring Genocide in Darfur, Sudan, House of Representatives, July 22, 2004.

[xl] The U.S. and the UN did not want the details of the deployment to be determined in the Abuja talks, where they lacked a determining voice; those arrangements were to be separately negotiated between Washington and Khartoum. The AU Mediator was implicitly consigned to a secondary role of finalizing a text; all parties knew this, which adversely affected the mediation’s efforts.

[xli] United Nations Security Council, Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation in Sudan (Darfur), S/2006/306, 19 May 2006.

[xlii] United Nations Security Council resolution 1706 (31 August 2006)

[xliii] Initially the judges refused to confirm the charges of genocide, but reinstated them after an appeal by the Prosecutor.

[xliv] African Union Peace and Security Council, 142nd meeting, 21 July 2008.,27982

[xlv] Ibid, para. 11(ii). In 2011, the PSC took the stand that it would not cooperate with an ICC arrest warrant against a head of state.

[xlvi] United Nations Security Council resolution 1769 (31 July 2007)

[xlvii] Mulugeta Gebrehiwot Berhe. “Analytical Study of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration in Darfur, Sudan,” New York, Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum, March 2005.

[xlviii] UN Peacekeeping Website, “Peacekeeping Fact Sheet”

[xlix] Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), 14 July 2011.

[l] Julie Flint. Beyond ‘Janjaweed’: Understanding the Militias of Darfur, Small Arms Survey HSBA Working Paper 17 (2009).

[li] Julie Flint. The Other War: Intra-Arab Conflict in Darfur, Small Arms Survey HSBA Working Paper 22 (2010).

[lii] Clea Kahn. Conflict, Arms and Militarisation: The Dynamics of Darfur’s IDP Camps, Small Arms Survey HSBA Working Paper 15 (2008).

[liii] Colum Lynch. “They Just Stood Watching”, Foreign Policy, April 7 2014.

[liv] Alex de Waal, Chad Hazlett, Christian Davenport, and Joshua Kennedy, “Evidence-Based Peacekeeping: Exploring the Epidemiology of Lethal Violence in Darfur,” Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, March 2010.

[lv] UN Security Council, “Report of the Secretary-General on the Sudan,” United Nations, January 31 2007

[lvi] UN Security Council Resolution 1590, March 24, 2005

[lvii] “UNMIS background,” United Nations Mission in the Sudan website. Main troop contributing countries included India, Bangladesh, Egypt and Pakistan.

[lviii] Jon Harold Sand Lie and Benjamin de Carvalho. “The Tension between UN HQ and the Field in Implementing the Protection of Civilians,” Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, April 2009

[lix] UNMIS, Office of the Spokesperson, Press Release 011 – “The Joint Military Commission hands over its operations in Nuba Mountains to the United Nations Mission in Sudan”, 20 May 2005.

[lx] The Joint Integrated Units (JIU) are new formations of the Sudanese Armed Forces, composed of both SAF and SPLA fighters. Creating JIU can be seen as a mechanism to absorb rebel groups into the military.

[lxi] Julie Flint. “Revisiting the Nuba Mountains”, African Arguments (2008).

[lxii] IRIN News, “Sudan: Clash sends civilians fleeing Malakal”, 25 February 2009.

[lxiii] BBC News, “South Sudan clashes between militia and army kill 57”, 24 April 2011.

[lxiv] “Rethinking DDR in Post-Independence Sudan,” IRIN, July 8, 2011

[lxv] United Nations Security Council, “Special Report of the Secretary-General on the Sudan,” May 17, 2011.

[lxvi] Protocol between the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) on the Resolution of Abyei Conflict, 26 May 2004.

[lxvii] Abyei Boundaries Commission, Final Report, June 2005.

[lxviii] Abyei Roadmap Agreement, 8 June 2008.

[lxix] Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement / Army (On Delimiting Abyei Area), Final Award, July 22 2009.

[lxx] UNMIS Public Information Office, In Sudan: Fleeing Conflict in Abyei, June 2011.

[lxxi] Agreement between the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) on Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area, 20 June 2011.

[lxxii] Ibid, Section V (Paras 27 – 35), and Annex A: Timeline of Activities (for deployment of mission).

[lxxiii] United Nations Security Council resolution 1990, 27 June 2011.

[lxxiv] United Nations Security Council resolution 2024, 14 December 2011.

[lxxv] “The Safe Demilitarized Border Zone”, Small Arms Survey Human Security Baseline Assessment, 24 September 2014.

[lxxvi] United Nations Security Council, Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Abyei, S/2015/439, 16 June 2015.

[lxxvii] “Sudan dismisses results of Ngok Dinka referendum in Abyei”, Sudan Tribune, October 31, 2014.

[lxxviii] Alex de Waal. "Mission Without End? Peacekeeping in the African Political Marketplace", International Affairs 85, no. 1 (2009): 99-113.

[lxxix] Ian Johnstone. "Managing Consent in Contemporary Peacekeeping Operations", International Peacekeeping 18, no. 2 (2011): 168-182.

[lxxx] Jon Harold Sand Lie and Benjamin de Carvalho. “The Tension between UN HQ and the Field in Implementing the Protection of Civilians,” Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, April 2009

[lxxxi] Alison Giffen. “Considerations for a New Peacekeeping Operation in South Sudan: Preventing Conflict and Protecting Civilian (Working Paper),” The Stimson Center, April/May 2