Khartoum — On Thursday, the gardens of the Republican Palace in Khartoum witnessed a symbolic vigil in commemoration of the violent dismantling of the sit-in in front of the army command in Khartoum on June 3 last year, in which more than 100 people were killed.

Members of the Sovereign Council, the High Committee for Health Emergencies, and the Families of Protest Victims participated in the vigil. Music of the Republican Peace was played.

“It is a sad day in the life of the Sudanese people, the day on which the blood of the martyrs was shed in our nation. We commemorate them here with music … the least we can do, rather than commemorate them with tears,” Sovereign Council member Aisha Mousa said in her speech.

She quoted the mother of Gusei, a young protester killed on June 3, who said that “I do not wait for retribution as there is not enough of it for my son’s blood. I await retribution from God, glory be to Him”.

On April 6 last year, a peaceful sit-in in Khartoum was organised in front of the army command in Khartoum to pressure the then ruling Omar Al Bashir to step down. Five days later, the dictator was deposed in a military coup. The protestors continued the sit-in, calling on the military to cede power to a civilian government.

Two months later, on June 3/Ramadan 29, the sit-in was attacked by government forces. At least 127 people were killed. About 700 others present at the sit-in that day were injured. More than 100 people went missing.

An independent Committee of Inquiry started its investigation of the ‘June 3 Massacre’ in October. In March this year, hundreds of young protestors in Khartoum demanded a final report from the committee. Many Sudanese also expressed their frustrations on social media about the passing of a year without prospects on accountability or promising investigation findings.

‘Achieving justice will not frighten anyone, but will help to strengthen this transitional period, and create a solid climate for building a democratic state’ – Abdallah Hamdok

During the ceremony on Thursday, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok stated that the perpetrators must be held accountable.

He said he has closely followed all the steps of the Committee of Inquiry into the massacre “without interfering in its work so that it can present a report that will answer all the questions”.

The committee has “all powers to investigate with any person anywhere”, he added.

The PM emphasised that the outcomes of the investigations will not affect the three-year transitional period of the government. “The main goals of the December revolution were ‘freedom, peace, and justice’, therefore, achieving justice will not frighten anyone, but will help to strengthen this transitional period, and create a solid climate for building a democratic state.”

Head of the Committee of Inquiry, lawyer Nabil Adib, reported in May that the investigations have been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The remaining work however is “minimal”, he said.

According to a detailed first investigation report of the Sudanese Archive and the Human Rights Center Investigation Lab, UC Berkeley, members of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), commanded by the deputy president of the Sovereign Councuil, Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’, and other security forces are to be held accountable for the violent dispersal of sit-ins across Khartoum in June last year.

Solidarity

The US State Department issued a statement on Wednesday, June 3, in which it expressed its support and solidarity with the Sudanese people in their quest to achieve justice and democracy.