The conflict in Darfur has become the subject of the concern of international community practically since the beginning of active military actions. At the same time, the international community responded in different ways on the conflict for some countries, such as the US declared that the conflict in Darfur is in its essence a genocide, while other countries did not define the conflict as genocide but, instead, preferred to label it as a conflict which is accompanied by numerous violations of human rights and violence. In actuality, the genocide nature of the conflict was obvious but the international community has not undertaken really effective measures to prevent it. In such a situation, the actions of the UN were severely criticized because it refused to define the conflict in Darfur as genocide, while its peacekeeping efforts were apparently insufficient to stop mass murders and oppression of specific ethnic groups.
In order to understand the essence of the conflict in Darfur and reveal its genocidal nature, it is necessary to briefly dwell upon its background that will help better assess the actions of the UN in relation to the actions of the Sudanese government and forces supported by the government. In this respect, it should be said that the conflict in Darfur has broken out between representatives of two different ethnic groups, Arab and non-Arab. The former were represented by military and militia and the Sudanese government provided Arab ethnic group with ample financial and technical support, while the rebellious opponents represented black population of Sudan and were severely oppressed by the forces supported by the Sudanese officials.
Moreover, the operations of the militia and military against the rebels were accompanied by numerous murders of the civilian population of Sudan and the victims were non-Arab people, even though they had no relation to clandestine activity or opposition. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the UN data, according to which in the result of conflict 450.000 people died from violence and disease, while Sudan government claims that there had been just 9.000 deaths since the beginning of the conflict (Prunier, 211). Obviously, the official Sudanese data are underestimated, while the data of UN and non-governmental organizations are not very precise because the Sudanese government actively opposes to the investigation of the situation in Darfur by the UN specialists and other non-governmental organizations. In fact, the unwillingness of the Sudanese government to admit foreign observers to the region of the conflict may be viewed as an indirect evidence of the genocide of non-Arab population of Darfur.
On the other hand, even those scarce data that had been collected within the period of the conflict proved the fact that the conflict in Darfur may be characterized as the policy of genocide and the US repeatedly raised this problem on the international level appealing to the world community and the UN, in particular, to undertake active steps to prevent the further genocide of non-Arab population of Darfur. However, the UN tended to take a neutral position in regard to the genocide and, instead, this international organization stood on the ground that the conflict is a purely military conflict which had nothing to do with genocide. Such a position of the UN was absolutely contrasting to the position of non-governmental organizations and mass media which described the conflict as both “ethnic cleanings”¯ and “genocide”¯ (Prunier, 296).
In stark contrast, the UN reports defined the conflict in Darfur as non-genocidal. To put it more precisely, in 2005 the UN report stated that while there were mass murders and rapes, they could not label it as genocide because “genocidal intent appears to be missing”¯ (Report, 67). Or even later, when the genocide grew stronger in Darfur, the UN Commission found that “technically there was not genocide in the legal sense of the term but that massive violations of human rights and humanitarian law were continuing”¯ (Ki-moon, 113). These reports prove the fact that the perception and interpretation of the conflict by the UN was inadequate since, in addition to numerous murders of non-Arab population, there were 1.6 million people internally removed, while mass executions became a norm.
In the result of the unwillingness of the UN to define the conflict as genocide the measures undertaken by the UN were also insufficient to stop the conflict because it was obvious that ill-equipped 7.000 troop African Union Mission in Sudan peacekeeping force was unable to stop the conflict and ongoing genocide, while the efforts of the UN to strengthen its military contingent in the area by a new 17.300 troop UN peacekeeping force faced a strong opposition from the part of Sudan.
Thus, it is obvious that the passive position of the UN in the Darfur conflict led to the numerous deaths and crimes against humanity which may be characterized as genocide.