The Darfur Conflict research papers look at the political, cultural and sociological reasons behind the conflict and may explain their historical tie to problems with genocide.
The Darfur Conflict began as a struggle between non-Arab or African Sudanese and the Sudanese government, which the African Sudanese believe has always demonstrated preferential treatment of Sudanese Arabs over them. Darfur is located in the western region of Sudan, which consists of North Darfur, West Darfur and South Darfur. The main conflict in Darfur is caused by the following geographical fact:
- Darfur's Arab population is almost exclusively Muslim and lives primarily in the North
- Darfur's African and predominantly Christian population lives in the South.
- This makes the Darfur conflict essentially a civil war between North and South.
The religious and ethnic difference between these populations has only served to fuel the Darfur Conflict. Although Sudan's government has been run by Arab Sudanese since its independence from Great Britain, the African Sudanese gained some representation through the evolution of the Sudanese People's Liberation Army and its leader John Garang. When Garang was killed in a plane crash before he could fulfill his position as Vice President of Sudan, the African Sudanese took up arms against the government.
The Sudanese government responded by systematically destroying African Sudanese villages, not only in the South but also in West Darfur, which is heavily populated by African Muslims - not to be confused with Darfur's Arab Muslims. The United States and other international powers have been asked to encourage and support peace talks between the Sudanese government and Darfur's insurgent factions with the hope that such talks will bring an end to the Darfur conflict.
The current violence that is occurring in Darfur has a number of social, political and economic ramifications. Despite the atrocities that are being committed, however, the international community has yet to fully elucidate their opinions on the issue. As such, as the violence in Darfur rages on, there are a myriad of legal questions that loom unanswered making it difficult for the international community-especially, Western states-to take an active role in ending the conflict. With this in mind, it becomes evident that some of the hard pressing legal questions surrounding the violence need to be answered if the violence is to stop and change in Darfur is to become a reality.
With the realization that there are a number of pertinent legal questions must be answered in the case of Darfur, there is an impetus to examine these issues. With this in mind, this investigation considers two prominent questions in the case of Darfur:
- First, should the current violence in Darfur be considered genocidal?
- Second, what are the implications in international law and international politics of labeling this conflict genocide?
By answering these two key questions, it should be possible to provide some salient advice for the response of the international community to this tenuous situation.
Overall, when one examines the specific reasons that the United Nations used for the process of decision making in Darfur, it becomes evident that the ruling in this case did more than just consider the acts of murder being committed in Darfur. With the ruling made in this case the United Nations has now set a precedent for the application of genocide, only when intent can be proven. Without intent, the act of genocide cannot be qualified. As such, because of the civil strife surrounding the situation in Darfur, the international community could not definitively define what is happening in the country as genocide. Luckily, for many in the international community-such as the United States-the ruling in the Darfur case alleviated the obligatory action that would have been required had the United Nations agreed that the violence in Darfur did indeed constitute violence. While it is clear that the United Nations intends to keep civil war and genocide neatly separated from one another, one cannot help but wonder when this separation will be dismantled. Clearly, by definition of act, genocide is indeed occurring in Darfur. However, until the international community is willing to use the physical definition of genocide rather than the newly adopted psychological intent definition, there will be no hope for the citizens of Darfur.