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Ahmed Haroun

Ahmed Haroun
أحمد محمد هارون
Governor of North Kordofan
In office
14 July 2013 – 23 February 2019
Preceded byMuatassim Mirghani Hussein Zaki al-Din
Governor of South Kordofan
In office
May 2009 – 12 July 2013
Preceded byOmar Silaman
Succeeded byAdam al-Faki Mohamed al-Tayeb
Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs
In office
Succeeded byMutrif Siddiq
Minister of State for the Interior
In office
April 2003 – September 2005
Succeeded byAlio Abini Alio
Personal details
Born1964 (age 59–60)
North Kurdufan, Republic of Sudan
Political partyNational Congress
Known forwanted by ICC for war crimes[1]
Military service
Allegiance Sudan
Battles/warsSecond Sudanese Civil War
War in Darfur

Ahmed Mohammed Haroun (also spelled Ahmad Harun, Arabic: أحمد هارون; born 1964) is one of five Sudanese men wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.[1] Despite international pressure on the government of Sudan to surrender him to the ICC, Haroun served as Sudan's Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs until May 2009, when he was appointed to the governorship of South Kordofan. In September 2007, he was appointed to lead an investigation into human rights violations in Darfur. In July 2013 he resigned as Governor of South Kordofan, and was reappointed by Omar al-Bashir as Governor of North Kordofan. On 1 March 2019, President Omar al-Bashir handed over the running of the country's leading political party, the National Congress, to him.[2] He was arrested in April 2019 by local authorities in Sudan following a coup which overthrew al-Bashir.[3][4]

Early life and education

Born in 1964, Haroun is from the state of North Kordofan.[5] He comes from the Bargo tribe in western Sudan.[6] He was trained as a lawyer.[6]

Career and allegations

At one time Haroun was Sudan's youngest minister of state.[6] He is also accused of participating in mobilizing and training tribal militias to attack civilians during the counterinsurgency in South Sudan. He also participated in the mobilization of the Murahileen militia and the conduct of military operations in Kordofan during the 1990s.[7]

During the time Haroun served as the minister of state for interior affairs, from April 2003 to September 2005, he also managed the Darfur Security Desk, which coordinated different government bodies involved in the counterinsurgency campaign in Darfur, such as the police, the Janjaweed, the Armed Forces, and the Intelligence Service.[5] This department also managed access of NGOs and the media to Darfur.[8] From 2006 to 2009, he was the minister of state for humanitarian affairs.

Alleged criminal activity in Darfur

Haroun allegedly recruited, funded and armed the Janjaweed militia, and incited numerous attacks against civilian populations.[9][10]

Forces under his command have been accused on targeting the towns of Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar, Arawala and surrounding areas during 2003 and 2004, even though these towns were apparently devoid of rebel presence and the civilian population was not taking part in hostilities.[5] According to BBC News, Haroun ordered the militia to kill, rape, and torture civilians.[11] Haroun has denied the accusations, and was quoted as saying the violence "never happened in the first place."[12] Haroun was reported as having said that since the "children of the Fur had become rebels, 'all the Fur' had become 'booty' for the Janjaweed."[13] After his speech, the Janjaweed militia, under the command of Ali Kushayb, looted the towns between Bindisi and Mukjar, and terrorized civilians.[13]

Haroun supposedly declared in one of his meetings that as the head of security he had the authority to eliminate or pardon anyone in order to maintain peace and safety.[14]

In August 2003, Haroun was further accused of the forcible transfer of about 20,000 civilians, primarily Fur people, from the Kodoom villages and surrounding areas.[5] News reports also allege that Haroun and fellow Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb forced the displacement of 34,000 civilians in March 2008 from their homes.[15] Haroun was also accused of pressuring displaced persons to leave displacement camps, and in doing so placed women and children at risk of attacks and malnutrition.[16]

The ICC warrants and their aftermath

On 27 April 2007, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Ahmad Muhammad Haroun, charging him with 20 counts of crimes against humanity and 22 counts of war crimes. He is accused of recruiting, funding and arming the Janjaweed militia. The Janjaweed attacked civilians and pillaged towns and villages during counterinsurgency attacks.[17]

From April 2003 until September 2005, Haroun was Minister of State as well as head of the "Darfur Security Desk," and from 2006 to 2009, he served as the Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs. Currently, he is the governor of South Kordofan, which borders South Sudan, where a brutal counterinsurgency campaign is raging, most severely in the Nuba mountains.[17]

Despite international calls for his arrest,[18] Haroun continued to serve as minister of state for humanitarian affairs (which is a post below the full ministerial level).[19] In this role, Haroun oversaw Darfur's two million internally displaced persons.[20] Aid agencies have accused him of hindering their efforts to bring relief to the displaced.[20]

In September 2007, the Sudanese government announced that Haroun would lead an investigation into human rights abuses in Darfur.[21] It also appointed Haroun to be a member of its committee overseeing the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), thus influencing the deployment of peacekeepers in Darfur.[22]

As a result of the escalating crisis in the state of Abyei in the first week of 2011, the UN decided to fly Haroun to the province. He was seen as the only suitable mediator at the time. The ICC is not a part of the UN, but the UN promised to cooperate with the ICC, and the action chosen by the UN – although pragmatic – proved controversial.[23]

Governor of South and North Kordofan

In June 2011, Haroun defeated Abdelaziz al-Hilu of the SPLA to become the governor of South Kordofan in an election rejected by the SPLA as rigged.[24]

On 12 July 2013 Haroun, along with the Governor of North Kordofan, resigned. In a presidential decree Omar al-Bashir reappointed Haroun as Governor of North Kordofan until 23 February 2019.[25][26]

2019 arrest

In April 2019, Haroun was arrested by local authorities in Sudan following the 2019 Sudanese coup d'état, which overthrew Omar al-Bashir.[4][27] On 5 May 2020, he tested positive for COVID-19 and was subsequently placed in quarantine.[28] He escaped custody during the chaos of the 2023 Sudan conflict, and voiced support for the Sudanese Armed Forces.[29]

In January 2024, the United States offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of Ahmed Haroun. Haroun is portrayed by the US State Department as having recruited, financed and armed the sinister Janjawid militia who participated in atrocities including murder, rape, torture, forced deportations and other inhumane treatment in Darfur in the 2000s.[30]

See also


  1. ^ a b Bensouda, Fatou (19 June 2019). "Statement to the United Nations Security Council on the Situation in Darfur, pursuant to UNSCR 1593 (2005)". International Criminal Court. Archived from the original on 19 June 2019. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  2. ^ "Sudan". BBC News. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Sudanese authorities arrest members of Bashir's party: source". Reuters. 20 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b Elbagir, Nima (15 April 2019). "As Bashir faces court, Sudan's protesters keep the music alive". CNN. Archived from the original on 19 June 2019. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d International Criminal Court."Warrant of arrest for Ahmad Harun" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 June 2007. (486 KB). 27 April 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  6. ^ a b c "Darfur war crime suspect asks ICC to prosecute Bush, Sharon first". Sudan Tribune. 28 February 2007. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  7. ^ International Criminal Court Public Redacted Version of the Prosecutor's Application under Article 58 (14 July 2008).
  8. ^ "Aegis Trust welcomes Darfur indictments, urges support to ICC - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan". 4 February 2007. Archived from the original on 5 January 2021. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  9. ^ International Criminal Court."Prosecutor's Application under Article 58(7)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 7 September 2007. (5.02 MB). 27 February 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  10. ^ Fisher, Jonah (27 February 2007). "ICC claims further isolate Sudan". BBC News. Archived from the original on 18 August 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  11. ^ "Sudan Defiant on Darfur Suspect." BBC News. February 2007[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "peace and Justice Update." Joan B.Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. 15 (2007): 7 [1] Archived 6 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ a b Reeves, Eric. "The ICCC 'Application' Concerning International Crimes in Darfur." PostNuke. 28 February 2007 [2]
  14. ^ "Prosecutor Opening Remarks." International Criminal court. 27 February 2007. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 March 2009. Retrieved 25 January 2009.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Former Nuremberg and UN prosecutors push for action on Darfur's suspected war criminals." Aegis Trust. March 2008. Relief Web.[3]
  16. ^ Waging Peace Briefings on ICC indictments. Waging Peace Building a Safe and Democratic World. 2008 [4]
  17. ^ a b "Bashir Watch". United to End Genocide. Retrieved 11 April 2013.
  18. ^ Crilly, Rob (7 September 2007). "War crime suspect heads human rights inquiry". The Times. London. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  19. ^ "ICC names first war crimes suspects in Darfur". Reuters. 27 February 2007. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  20. ^ a b "ICC issues Darfur arrest warrants". BBC News. 2 May 2007. Archived from the original on 15 September 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  21. ^ Apiku, Simon (6 September 2007). "Darfur war crimes suspect leads Sudan rights probe". Reuters. Archived from the original on 1 February 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  22. ^ International Criminal Court. Public Redacted Version of the Prosecutor's Application under Article 58 (103), 14 July 2008.
  23. ^ "U.N. flew indicted war criminal to Sudan meeting". Reuters. 11 January 2011. Archived from the original on 16 June 2012.
  24. ^ "Sudan:SPLA rejects South Kordofan win for Ahmed Haroun". BBC. 16 May 2011. Archived from the original on 24 June 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  25. ^ "Sudan Vision Daily - Details". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  26. ^ "Sudan shuffles governors of Kordofan states including ICC suspect - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan". October 2013. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  27. ^ "Sudan's President Steps Down After Months of Protests". Al Bawaba. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  28. ^ "Sudan: ICC suspect Ahmed Haroun quarantined for Covid-19". Radio Dabanga. 5 May 2020. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  29. ^ Regan, Helen; Tawfeeq, Mohammed (26 April 2023). "Former Sudanese minister Ahmed Haroun wanted on war crimes charges freed from Khartoum prison". CNN. Retrieved 2 May 2023.
  30. ^ "Afrique Soudan: Washington offre une prime pour l'arrestation d'un ex-haut responsable de régime Béchir". Radio France Internationale. 31 January 2024. Retrieved 31 January 2024.
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Ahmed Haroun
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