Comparing the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) with the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur: Background, Mandate, Scope, Success & Failures

Essay, 2010

9 Pages, Grade: 1,0

Dick Laurent (Author)


Comparing the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) with the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur: Background, Mandate, Scope, Success & Failures.

January 8, 2010

Geographically, Central or Middle Africa refers to the region lying south of the Sahara, east of Western Africa, west of the Great Rift Valley. These geographical landmarks do specify the region according to the UN and include the following countries: Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Sao Tome and Principe. For our analysis we will include the Sudan as well. The whole region, especially the countries Chad, Sudan (South, Darfur and East), Central African Republic, DRC, Uganda, encounter continuous conflicts for long periods. The root causes are multi-dimensional and include from claims for power, self­determination, banditry on natural resources, economic participation and religious or ethnical motivated conflicts. Many of these countries have experienced war and conflict since independence with only few years of peace in between. The most vulnerable groups are - as always - civilians, especially women and children. Millions of people have been displaced, either within their country as internally displaced persons (IDP) or in bordering countries as political refugees. The UN established windows of opportunities by defining large numbers of refugees as a threat to international peace. With this argument the UN could intervene in certain countries even against the will of that very country. Strongly connected to this chain of arguments is the concept ofHuman Security and the Responsibility to Protect.

The following pages will examine (I.) the reasons why the UN intervened in a certain context, (II.) how the mandate was designed, (III.) the task and scope of the missions and (IV.) the current situation in these contexts and the success and failures of these missions. We will apply this analytical grid to the following missions: A. UNMIS - UN Mission in Sudan (South) and B. UNAMID - AU/UN Hybrid operation in Darfur.

Part I. Conflict background and point of entry for the UN

A. UNMIS (North/South Sudan) - A periphery vs. centre war with roots in the colonial history of Sudan. Fighting for political and economical development.

The first civil war between the powerful center of Khartoum and the neglected periphery in the South started after independence in 1956 and ended in 1972 with signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement. The country’s only period of peace followed for 10 years. In 1983 the Government of Sudan (GoS, Khartoum) planned to introduce Sharia’a law in the whole of Sudan, applying it not only on Muslims but also on black Africans in the Southern part1. Two decades of war between the Khartoum-based government and the southern-based rebel group SPLM started. Almost two million people were killed in that time. In 2002 the GoS and the SPLM signed the Machako protocol, framing a roadmap for peace in Sudan. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an alliance of neighbouring states, guided the two warring parties through a number of additional agreements towards peace. 2004 the UN offered its support for the implementation of the peace agreement. For this 2 reason the UN Advance Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS) was established to assess the realities on the ground for a prospective peace support operation. In January 2005 the GoS and the SPLM signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), ending almost two decades of civil war2 . The CPA stipulates the sharing of power (SPLM is part of the Government of National Unity) and wealth (50/50 sharing of southern oil revenues), planned the troop withdrawal,3 and laid out an election in Southern Sudan for summer 2009 (already postponed to April 2010) and a referendum for 2011 where Southerners may decide on independence4. On January 31, 2005, the UN-Secretary General (SG) reported to the Security Council (SC) and recommended the deployment of a multi-dimensional peace support operation with 10,000 military personnel, 700 police officers5 and an appropriate civilian number with the aim to support the imp/ementation o/the CPA.

B. UNAMID (Dar/hr) - The Dar/hr con//icts shows simi/ar patterns as the North-5owth con//ict: a strwgg/eyorpo/itica/participation anJ economica/ ßfeve/opment.

The official armed conflict in Darfur started in February 2003 when insurgents attacked the airport in Al-Fashir, the provincial capital of Northern Darfur, and destroyed Antonov aircrafts, gunship helicopters and killed large numbers of government soldiers6. The attacks have been carried out by the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) who legitimated their attacks by claiming a power share and economical development of the region. A massacre started with the main target being the civilian population. The Sudanese Government in Khartoum armed local groups and used the momentum of tribal conflicts, conflicts for grasslands and water, etc. The Jan/aweeö/ militias on horses, were supplied with weapons and money by the Sudanese Government to attack villages all over Darfur. Common tactics included the blackout of mobile and satellite networks followed by air bombardment of the Sudanese Government and finalised by raids of the Janajaweed. These tactics have already been applied in the North-South civil war. The Darfur conflict remained undetected by the international community for months. Only in August 2004 (one and a half year after the start), 150 Rwandan troops followed by 150 Nigerian troops arrived in Darfur to monitor an agreed ceasefire and to protect civilians in an area as big as France. 50,000 Darfuris have been killed7 8 up to that moment and 395 villages have been destroyed (August 2, 2004). The United States defined the atrocities in Darfur as Ghnocißfe and called the SC to isolate the regime in Khartoum and send peace troops to the region. China and Russia blocked a resolution. Thus, the West remained unable to intervene with a UN mandate in Darfur. In this time, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo pushed forward and mobilized the AU to intervene in Darfur. With this development the Western community could put the AU in charge of the resolution of the conflict. With 7,000 troops the AU was patrolling in Darfur. The AU’s performance has led to much criticism referring to incidents as for instance 100 hundred AU-Landcruisers disappeared, AU soldiers escorted cargo trucks for payment, and insufficient protection of civilians.9 10

Part II. Design of the mandate

A. UNMIS (North/South Sudan) - A monitoring mission supporting the implementation of the CPA without teeth to protect civilians.

The mission is based on SC-Resolution 1590 (2005) with the objective to (a) support the parties in implementing the CPA. As such, the tasks of UNMIS include the monitoring and verification of the ceasefire, the observation of movement of armed groups and the redeployment of forces in the areas of UNMIS deployment, the assistance in establishing a DDR-program, Human Rights promotion and monitoring. Additionally, UNMIS is asked to assist in the (b) repatriation of refugees and IDPs and (c) the coordination and technical advice in demining activities. UNMIS is authorized with Chapter VII of the UN Charter to apply force for the protection of UN personnel, humanitarian workers and civilians under imminent threat of physical violence.11 Although the Darfur conflict started already in 2003 and atrocities against civilians were ongoing the UN did not respond. SC-Resolution 1590 (2005) did strictly exclude operations in the region of Darfur12.

B. UNAMID (Darfur) - The international community intervening with a delay of five years; Solving an African problem with African means?

It became apparent that the AMIS I (African Union Mission in Sudan) mandate was too weak, even too weak to protect themselves, not to mention protecting civilians from attacks. Mandated by the UN-SC Resolution 1574 (2004), the AU-Peace and Security Council decided to build-up troops and add a police component, known as AMIS II13 . After longsome negotiations with Khartoum, the UN-SC agreed on Resolution 1769 (2007) to establish the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).14 UNAMID acts under Chapter VII of the UN-Charter and is as such authorized to protect besides UN/AU personnel and humanitarian workers also civilians. As well, UNAMID is directed to support the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) . It is worth to mention, that the DPA has only been signed by the NCP and the SLM faction of Minni Minnawi and as a consequence excludes more than a dozen of Darfur-based rebel groups15. Minnawi was co­opted by the Sudanese Government in Khartoum, was placed on a job as consultant and lost support in Darfur.16 The establishment of a hybrid mission under the informal umbrella of the UN intended to improve the reputation and performance of UNAMID, although misuse of UNAMID means continue while protecting civilians (even with knowing planned attacks) is neglected.17

How the ICC got involved?

On March 31, 2005 the Security Council assigned the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to the case of Darfur. Sudan did not sign the Rome Statute and is therefore not subject to the jurisdiction of the ICC. Although, according to article 13b of the Statute, the ICC can execute jurisdiction on non-member states if the case is handed over by the Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the UN-Charter . Although the United States has not yet signed the Rome Statute and does not acknowledge the ICC, it abstained from voting in Resolution 1593 (2005). This act has been interpreted as an implicit acceptance of the ICC by the US.

Part III. Scope of the mission

A. UNMZS (North/Sowth SbJan)

The latest authorization of the mission refers to SC-resolution 1870 (April 30, 2009) and approves 10,000 military personnel, 750 military observers, up to 715 police officers and a suitable civilian component. As of October 31, 2009 there are 8,821 troops, 476 military observers and 715 police officers deployed. 807 international civil personnel, 2,504 local civilian staff and 310 UN volunteers are currently employed at UNMIS. In total there have been 49 fatalities, more than half of civilians18. The annual mission budget amounts to approx. one billion US-Dollars.19

B. UN AMID (Dar/br) - Target, most expensive UN-mission with Ramons Je/ays.

UNAMID is built up on SC-resolution 1769 (2007) and has been re-confirmed with resolution 1881 (2009). Special constraints for UNAMID have been set by the Sudanese Government which did not accept Non-African troops, giving the mission the nickname AMIS-reloaded. The deployment of troops was hampered by several delay tactics of Khartoum, such as delaying formal approval to the UN, rejecting troops from South-East Asia, non-allocation for UNAMID-bases and the restriction20 on night-patrols . Nevertheless,21 the authorized contingents amounted to the following numbers:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

More than 30 months after the initial SC-resolution 1769 (July 2007) there is still a quarter of the troops missing. Even i/" the SbJanese Government has to yOrce the responsibi/ity yOr the Je/ays, it a/so shows a miserab/e internationa/ commitment anJ wnyo/Js high/y regwireJ22


1 Occasionally the war between North and South was simplified as a religious war between Arabic Muslims and Black African Christians/Animists. Religion and Ethnicity played a certain role, but as such cannot be seen as the determining factor that fuelled the war. Northern elites have been developed much more by the British colonialists than Southerners. As a consequence the Northern elite ruled the whole of Sudan and saw Southerners as inferior, even referring to them as slaves.

2 See UN DOC S/Res/1547 (2004)

3 For a comprehensive overview see Chiara, Bernhard (ed.) (2008), p. 17-120; see also Hainzl, Gerald/Walter, Florian (2008), p. 4-7

4 Thomas, Edward (2007), p. 9ff

5 UN DOC Secretary General: Report of the Secretary General on the Sudan (S/2005/57)

6 Differing figures about casualties: Thielke, T. (2008) talks about 8 destroyed Antonov aircrafts and 685 Sudanese security personnel killed while Wax, E. (2004) refers to 2 destroyed Antonovs, 4 destroyed gunships and “just” 75 killed Sudenese security personnel.

7 BBC (2004)

8 USAID (2004)

9 Compare Thielke, T. (2008), p. 70

10 UN DOC Security Council: S/Res/1590 (2005)

11 Breitwieser, Thomas (2008), p. 91

12 Breitwieser, Thomas (2008), p. 101

13 UND DOC Security Council: S/Res/1769 (2007), paragraph 15 (ii)

14 BBC (2006a)

15 BBC (2006b)

16 Referring to the documentary “The Devil comes on a horseback” showing Brian Steidle, an American military observer working for the AU, as well as too latest news from Sudan Tribune (2010)

17 UN DOC Security Council: S/Res/1593 (2005)

18 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (2002), p. 11

19 UN-DPKO/UNMIS,, (retrieved January 5, 2010)

20 UN DOC General Assembly: A/C.5/63/25 (06/2009)

21 Human Rights Watch et al. (2007), p. 5-8

22 Excluding 2,357 national staff and 406 UN volunteers

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Comparing the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) with the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur: Background, Mandate, Scope, Success & Failures
University of Hamburg  (Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy)
UN Peace Support Operations
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ISBN (Book)
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Sudan, UNMIS, UNAMID, United Nations, Darfur, South Sudan, SPLM, SPLA, Bashir
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Dick Laurent (Author), 2010, Comparing the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) with the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur: Background, Mandate, Scope, Success & Failures, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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