- Genocide in Darfur: Investigating the Atrocities in the Sudan
Edited by the two prominent genocide scholars Samuel Totten and Eric Markusen, Genocide in Darfur: Investigating the Atrocities in the Sudan is an outstanding collection of essays that describes in great detail the genesis, design, implementation, results, and ramifications of the Darfur Atrocities Documentation Project (ADP). What makes this work significant is the fact that the essays are written not only by many noted scholars, US government and non-governmental organization officials, but also by the ADP designers and investigators. The perspectives of the latter is extremely valuable, since they were the people who conducted the interviews with the Darfur refugees in the internally displaced camps (IDP) in Chad and who listened to the victims’ first-hand accounts of the horrific experiences they suffered at the hands of the Government of Sudan (GoS) troops and the Janjaweed (Arab militia).
The book consists of fourteen chapters grouped into five parts: (1) “The Background on Darfur,” (2) “The Investigation,” (3) “The Genocide Determination,” (4) “The Significance of the Darfur Atrocities Documentation Project: A Precedent for the Future? The Perspective of ‘Outsiders,’ ” and (5) “Analysis of the Rationale and Reasoning Behind the U.S. ADP and Genocide Determination.” In addition, the editors have included a very useful chronology of the Darfur crisis and five noteworthy appendices: “The Darfur Refugee Questionnaire,” which is very informative, especially for those interested in the research tools used in the project; the summary of the ADP final report; US Secretary of State Colin L. Powell’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which he announced that “genocide has occurred in Darfur and may still be occurring”; the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; and a list of the personnel involved in the ADP.
The book begins with a historical overview of Darfur that begins with the establishment of the Fur sultanate in 1650 and concludes in 2004 when the efforts of the international community to address the “worst humanitarian crisis” started. Robert O. Collins, a noted expert on the history of Sudan and the author of many widely acclaimed books including Africa’s Thirty Years War: Chad, Libya and the Sudan, 1963–1993, focuses on the complex root causes of the conflict such as marginalization of the region, the tribes’ struggles for resources, and the ethnic tensions between different tribes exacerbated by the “cynical and dysfunctional Islamist government of the Sudan.” Although this chapter demands a lot of concentration on the part of the reader as the text is full of historical data, it enables non-experts to understand the complexity of the crisis.
Part 1 also includes a chapter by Andrew S. Natsios, who, at the time of the investigation, was the chief administrator of the US Agency for International Development [End Page 388] (USAID). After briefly presenting the reasons for American involvement in the Sudan, the context of the crisis in Darfur and the atrocities committed by the Janjaweed and GoS military, he focuses on the actions taken by USAID to address the crisis, which included providing humanitarian aid, conducting research and providing data such as satellite imagery of the situation in Darfur to high level members of the US government and to the members of the UN Security Council. Finally, Natsios explains the genesis and significance of the ADP.
Part 2 is entirely devoted to a description of the Darfur ADP. Each of its chapters focuses on a different aspect of the investigation. In chapter 3, Nina Bang-Jensen and Stefanie Frease, leaders of the Coalition of International Justice, the latter of which was selected by the State Department to plan and implement the ADP, describe the stages of the project from its creation after the meeting of NGOs at the US State Department in Washington in late June 2004, through assembling the team of investigators, dispatching the assessment team and the field investigators to Chad, to their safe return home at the end of August. They make...