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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 July, 2005, 18:16 GMT 19:16 UK
Never Again programme transcript
The following is an edited transcript of Panorama's "'Never Again'", broadcast Sunday 3 July 2005, 22:15 BST on BBC One. Although taken from a script, this should be checked against transmission for accuracy and to ensure the clear identification of individual speakers.

FERGAL KEANE This is a story about the meaning of words.

About what we mean when we say never again.

GEORGE W BUSH
At this hour the world is witnessing terrible suffering and horrible crimes in the Darfur region of Sudan, crimes my government has concluded are genocide.

FERGAL KEANE
Never again we promised would we fail to confront mass murder.

TONY BLAIR
If Rwanda happened again today as it did in 1993, when a million people were slaughtered in cold blood, we would have a moral duty to act there also.

FERGAL KEANE
But for more than two years now ethnic cleansing in Darfur has been unfolding in front of our eyes.

BRIAN STEIDLE
We heard a buzz, sounds like high voltage power lines, and we had no idea what it was. We couldn't figure out what it was until we walked into the village, and then we realised it was the amount of flies that were in the village, that were on all the dead people and the animals. And there had been a large number of people there who had been locked into their huts and burnt alive.

FERGAL KEANE
Tonight the head of the United Nations tells Panorama the world has failed the victims.

KOFI ANNAN
We were slow, hesitant, uncaring and that we have learnt nothing from Rwanda.

FERGAL KEANE
Now as G8 leaders prepare to make new pledges to Africa- Panorama tells the story of how the world broke its promise to the people of Darfur.

TITLES: Never Again: Darfur And The Promise Broken.

FERGAL KEANE
On April the 7th last year staff at the United Nations observed a poignant anniversary. It was ten years since the Rwandan genocide. In New York they walked in silence to commemorate the dead. Nearly a million people were murdered by their own government while the international community stood by. Rwanda the left UN's leader haunted by his own failure to act on the warnings he'd been given.

CAPTION: April 7th, 2004.

CAPTION: KOFI ANNAN Secretary General, United Nations

KOFI ANNAN
Anyone who embarks on genocide commits a crime against humanity. Humanity must respond by taking action in its own defence...

FERGAL KEANE
But as he spoke Kofi Annan was full of foreboding about a new African tragedy.

KOFI ANNAN
I share the grave concern at the scale of the human rights abuses and the humanitarian crises unfolding Darfur Sudan.

FERGAL KEANE
For you emotionally watching Darfur on that tenth anniversary, I just wonder what you were feeling?

ANNAN
Are we going to repeat what happened in Rwanda? Is it going to be another Rwanda? And can we.. if that is it, can we sit back and not act?

FERGAL KEANE
Annan was alerted to the violence by his representative in Khartoum. He was a British civil servant seconded to the UN. In summer 2003 he got reports of thousands of displaced people on the move.

CAPTION: DR MUKESH KAPILA United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator Sudan

DR MUKESH KAPILA
As the months unfolded, the reports got more and more serious, the population that were leaving their homes increased in numbers, the hundreds became thousands, thousands became tens and hundreds of thousands, that's when the alarm bells really started ringing, maybe towards the middle of the year.

FERGAL KEANE
It began in early 2003. In Sudan's western region of Darfur African tribes rose against an Arab regime they accused of oppression. The state responded by unleashing its own military and tribal militias. For two years they would terrorise the population who called the militia Janjawid -devils on horseback.

BRIAN STEIDLE
They have no feelings. They burn a hut down, they burn a village down, they kill people. They kill children by smashing their faces in with the butts of rifles.

CAPTION: CAPTAIN BRIAN STEIDLE Photographer

BRIAN STEIDLE
The first thing they do is they try to drive, or better yet kill anybody that's there. They try to save the animals, because they are more valuable to them than the people. So they go in and they shoot at anything that moves, and then as the people flee they chase them down. If they catch them in the fields they're lucky if they get executed, which happens many times, because most of the time when they catch them leaving if it's a male they'll castrate him.

The burning process, sometimes they start it during the fighting, sometimes it's all simultaneous and if they do catch somebody in the village when they start the burning process they usually lock them in their huts to burn them alive. Then they take everything, they take all the loot, everything of value they possibly can carry out of the village, put it to the side and then do a complete scorched earth, burn everything down completely flat.

FERGAL KEANE
The world knew that the Islamic regime of General Omar Al Bashir had a history of crushing dissent with extreme violence. They'd fought Christians in the South of Sudan - for more than two decades - a war that cost two million lives. The international community had been trying to get a peace deal for years. The fact that Christians were being killed made Sudan a political issue in the United States. President Bush had even appointed a Special Envoy.

CAPTION: JOHN DANFORTH US Special Envoy for Peace to Sudan

JOHN DANFORTH
It was a matter that was of great interest to Christian conservatives in the United States, a good part of President Bush's base, and it was something that was of personal interest to him. My role was that I was his special envoy, the President's special envoy, I was speaking for him.

FERGAL KEANE
By late Autumn 2003, villages across Darfur were under attack. The campaign against rebels had escalated into the ethnic cleansing of an entire region. But it was ending the war in the south that preoccupied the international community. As Kofi Annan's representative discovered when he travelled to international capitals to raise the alarm.

FERGAL KEANE
When you went and briefed people within London and in New York, what was the response then?

KAPILA
Concern, um... concern that ah... serious things were beginning to happen, but a feeling that this was an inconvenient piece of information that actually the last thing one wanted to hear about in the context of Sudan and the hopes of a peace agreement that would end Africa's longest running civil war was this disturbing nuisance of a conflict in Darfur.

FERGAL KEANE
By December 2003 refugees were still flooding into neighbouring Chad from Darfur. The United Nations Secretary General issued a statement condemning the human rights abuses.

CAPTION: KOFI ANNAN Secretary General, United Nations

KOFI ANNAN
I think we felt that we were not being heard and that I needed to raise the level of the discussion and raise awareness to try and mobilise support and attention.

FERGAL KEANE
How successful were you?

KOFI ANNAN
Not too successful at the beginning. FERGAL KEANE
That is a euphemism. Not only had these people been targeted by their own government. The regime was also blocking relief supplies. The displaced needed the powerful countries to speak out for them. Those countries were the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Yet the UN's top aid official struggled to get the Security Council to listen.

CAPTION: JAN EGELAND Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations FERGAL KEANE
You were willing and making it known that you were willing to brief the Security Council during that period

JAN EGELAND
Yes, I mean it was clear that I was there, I was speaking out very loudly and I also sounded out whether, whether there would be an interest, but as I say, there's a high threshold to bring a new country to the Security Council agenda. FERGAL KEANE
There were several obstacles. China and Russia both had economic interests in Sudan hand and had traditionally opposed UN intervention in soverign states. But what of the countries who had made the pledge "Never Again" after Rwanda?

America and Britain were preoccupied on another front. The war in Iraq had descended into a brutal counterinsurgency campaign, consuming military resources. America was wary of becoming embroiled in conflict anywhere else - let alone an Arab state like Sudan.

In Sudan, the world's priority was the peace deal in the south. In Darfur - people like Samira and her family - would struggle for attention. They found only hunger and disease after being driven from their homes.

CAPTION: Photographs, Brian Steidle

SAMIRA
First the Janjawid attacked, then the soldiers came. We were all asleep, but then the shooting started. Everybody in the village woke to find they had been surrounded. Also the planes were bombing, killing and injuring people. Everybody was running for their lives. FERGAL KEANE
Samira and her family started to run from the village. Her husband was attacked.

SAMIRA
He was the first one to be shot. The other men went outside and were all killed. Only the women were left alive. They hit my arm with a sword, which made me drop my baby. I had thrown myself on my husband's body. My father followed me and did the same. That is when they cut his head off. I put my child in a basket and we crawled outside the village.

FERGAL KEANE
Three months after Kofi Annan's statement the Security Council had still not discussed Darfur. Frustrated at the silence the UN's man in Sudan decided to go public.

CAPTION: BBC Radio 4, Today programme, 19th March 2004

PRESENTER
Earlier I spoke to Dr Mukesh Kapila...

KAPILA
This is currently the worst crisis in the world today. Well over a million people are affected. I was present in Rwanda at around the time of the genocide there, I've seen many other situations around the world, but I'm totally shocked about what is going on in Darfur at the present time. This is ethnic cleansing, this is the world's greatest humanitarian crisis, and I don't know why the world is not doing more about it

PRESENTER: Dr Kapila thank you for joining us...

KAPILA
I had done everything by the book till then, private diplomacy, documentation, making the rounds of the important member states, representations to the Sudanese Government and all of that had failed. Finally enough was enough, and there was no other opportunity but to simply say my simple story, to the world - if the world would listen.

FERGAL KEANE
Hundreds of thousands of displaced were waiting for international action. It would take until the end of May until there was a strong Security Council statement. It said there'd been large scale violations of international law - and demanded that those responsible be held accountable. The powerful nations had known about Darfur's horrors for at least six months before they spoke out.

KOFI ANNAN
I think today that we could have sent a very strong message right from the beginning and taken action to indicate that the international community was serious about helping the people of Darfur.

FERGAL KEANE
Finally in late May 2004 the displaced were given some hope. Under pressure from the international community, Sudan finally allowed more aid and humanitarian workers to get to the displaced.

EGELAND
I regret that we couldn't get it on the council's agenda at least 2 months earlier. If we had gotten it earlier on the agenda we might have gotten access earlier, we might, and if we had gotten access earlier we would have saved a lot of lives.

FERGAL KEANE
But aid workers could not protect people from the army and militia. So the nations of the fledgling African Union volunteered to send troops to monitor a ceasefire. Some of them were Rwandan. It had been a lesson of the genocide that African nations needed to be ready to respond to crises in their own region. But for five crucial months there were just overf three hundred armed men on the ground. They were there only to monitor - and they were poorly equipped. Western countries sent some money and a handful of observers.

CAPTION: CAPTAIN BRIAN STEIDLE African Union Monitor BRIAN STEIDLE
We operated in South Darfur okay, which is half the size of France, with four vehicles and one helicopter, that sometimes we had fuel for and sometimes we didn't because logistics was not exactly straight on it.

Our mandate was to monitor the cease fire. If they see civilians being harmed they can intervene if possible. Now when you are standing at the village of 20,000 people and there's 3000 Sudanese soldiers and 1500 Janjaweed and I've got 3 armed guys with me, obviously there's nothing we can do.

CAPTION: Rwanda, 1994

FERGAL KEANE
In Rwanda the UN troops who'd faced the genocide had also been too few and poorly equipped. The lesson was that the security of millions should not be left in the hands of just a few hundred. That is precisely what happened in Darfur. FERGAL KEANE
It became pretty clear from early on that the African Union didn't have the numbers, didn't have the capacity to do the job.

DANFORTH
Right.

FERGAL KEANE
What was your feeling there?

DANFORTH
That we had to do whatever we could to expand the number of people in there. That it was very, very frustrating not getting the African Union in there as quickly and as with as many people as we wanted. It was very, very slow going, unbelievably slow going. FERGAL KEANE
The international community knew that the African Union had serious problems. They were being told by Human Rights groups at meetings in the White House and the Security Council.

CAPTION: KEN ROTH Executive Director,Human Rights Watch

ROTH
The US government has been perfectly content to hide behind the figleaf of the African Union, to maintain the fiction that this brand-new rudimentary institution, in its first major ground operation, that somehow it could handle a situation of massive ethnic cleansing. We all know it can't.

CAPTION: Downing Street, July 2004

JOURNALIST
Do you think that if the Sudanese government doesn't meet its commitments, the West has a moral responsibility to intervene, if necessarily militarily, in the way that we intervened in Kosovo, and the way that we didn't intervene, as it were, in Rwanda?

FERGAL KEANE
Throughout the summer of 2004 as violence in Darfur continued world leaders refused to commit their own troops.

TONY BLAIR
I believe that we have a moral responsibility to deal with this, and to deal with it by any means that we can. But I think that we need to work very carefully with the Africa Union, because after all, you know, they are the regional political body and there's no point in doing things unless you've got very clear support in the region. FERGAL KEANE
But at UN headquarters-now more than a year since refugees had started to flee Darfur - Security Council members like America and Britain began to discus action.

CAPTION: JUAN ANTONIO YANEZ-BARNUEVO Spanish Ambassador to the United Nations

YANEZ-BARNUEVO
The general reaction is that the council could not remain passive, that it had to do what we could do to assist... there was a mmm an increase in the interest and in the pressure

FERGAL KEANE
Any plan for UN peacekeepers would have been opposed by China - Sudan's chief ally on the Security Council. And with a war to fight in Iraq America and Britain were not going to act on their own to stop the ethnic cleansing. As one British minister put it: we don't want to end up creating a new course for Jihad. This was something the Sudanese government well understood.

KOFI ANNAN
In post Iraq war environment governments have become very cautious, and the Sudanese Government right from the beginning said if one is going to bring in forces, and they want to create a second Iraq, let them come, and I think that also made quite a lot of governments nervous.

FERGAL KEANE
They were very clever with that, weren't they?

ANNAN
Yes.

CAPTION: JOHN DANFORTH US Ambassador to the United Nations, 2004 DANFORTH
Well, I think that one of the lessons of Iraq is that even if you think the military action is justified, it's difficult and it's not something that's completed quickly.

FERGAL KEANE
John Danforth became US ambassador to the UN in July and like his President was wary of any new military commitment.

DANFORTH
With respect to Sudan, this is a very large country and if there was to be a military invasion, and this is the question that I think is always going to be raised after Iraq, how long do you plan to stay there and what's your future obligation? FERGAL KEANE
In Rwanda the fear of being sucked into an African quagmire kept the world from intervening. In Darfur ten years on such fears were part of the reason for refusing to commit troops. But there was still the possibility of a No Fly zone. In Sudan much of the terror came from the skies.

BRIAN STEIDLE
They came in first with the helicopter gunships.Each gun ship carries 4 rocket pods, each rocket pod about 20 rockets and each rocket about 500 of these flechettes. The flechette is a small pointed nail with the fin on the back, and they come out of the end of the rocket like a shot gun. It doesn't destroy a hut, doesn't destroy a vehicle, doesn't destroy buildings at all, all it is used to do is to maim and kill people.

CAPTION: JUAN ANTONIO Y┴ĐEZ-BARNUEVO Spanish Ambassador to the United Nations

FERGAL KEANE
The idea for a no fly zone was discussed by the Security Council.

YANEZ BARNUEVO
This would had been a route worth pursuing, because it's clear that the attacks on the ground by militias etc, were being supported from the air, and only one party had access to that kind of military means. This idea was introduced several (laugh) times, it was not just a one off initiative, but each time as it encountered so many difficulties it was not in fact pursued.

CAPTION: HILARY BENN Secretary of State for International Development FERGAL KEANE
What would have stopped Britain and the United States unilaterally imposing a no-fly zone? We have the capacity.

BENN
Well the difficulty is because, our troops were heavily committed elsewhere at the time, and that's a.. a genuine practical consideration - other countries might have looked at it. In the end there was no agreement that one should be implemented.

FERGAL KEANE
Security Council sources told Panorama China threatened to veto a No Fly Zone. Britain and America would press for economic sanctions. But once again there would be resistance from Sudan's ally on the Security Council.

CAPTION: DR MUKESH KAPILA United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator, Sudan

KAPILA
Remember that the conflict... the war in Darfur is being fuelled by the revenue that Sudan government is getting from oil. Now if that oil revenue could be constrained from buying arms and from paying off all the Janjaweed and so on, then it could have a profound effect over time. FERGAL KEANE
Over half of Sudan's oil went to feed China's economic boom - an oil embargo would had spelt trouble for China's economy,

DANFORTH
They absolutely opposed any reference to sanctions, so there was no doubt in my mind that we were not going to impose sanctions because at least the Chinese would have vetoed the sanctions.

FERGAL KEANE
You're certain about that?

DANFORTH
I am 100% certain.

FERGAL KEANE
The Chinese representative at the UN wouldn't respond to our request for an interview. But the country's Foreign Minister reportedly told a newspaper: Business is Business. On July 30 the people of Darfur learned that the Security Council had called on Sudan to disarm its militia. There was a warning of future economic sanctions but without a firm deadline. The Secretary General was to give progress reports every thirty days. DANFORTH
It may be that the Government of Sudan thinks our attention will be fleeting and that it will soon continue its business in Darfur free from action by the community of nations. This resolution guarantees that Darfur will be before the security council and before the world, next month and the month after that and for as long as it takes to ensure that the people of Darfur will live in peace.

FERGAL KEANE
But deadlines slipped by and the government sponsored violence did not stop. Security deteriorated. There were rebel attacks followed by fierce reprisals.

CAPTION: KOFI ANNAN Secretary General, United Nations

FERGAL KEANE
People looking at this as it developed would suggest it wasn't just the failure at the beginning to send ?? again and again┐

KOFI ANNAN
and again, and again.

FERGAL KEANE
Do you think there's justice in that criticism?

KOFI ANNAN
I think yes, there's a measure of justification in that because (cough) it wasn't only just a humanitarian aspect but also trying to get even assistance to the people in terms of security.

FERGAL KEANE
The displaced lived in fear. The women were especially vulnerable. They had to leave the camps every day to collect wood for their families.

KHATRA
Those are the people who frighten me. They have no mercy in them, they beat us badly.

FERGAL KEANE
Panorama interviewed Khatra and her niece Miriam in September - just weeks after the UN resolution. A few days before they'd crossed the river bed when seven men surrounded them┐.

CAPTION: KHATRA

KHATRA
We went to get the firewood at 8 in the morning. Suddenly we were surrounded by the attackers. They started asking us: "Where are you going Fur women", and calling us donkeys. They asked where the rebels were. They started hitting us. We tried to resist and defend ourselves but they threatened us with knives. Four of them raped me and three raped the girl. Seven men.

CAPTION: MIRIAM MIRIAM
It's painful when moving - It's hard to move.

CAPTION: SENATOR SAM BROWNBACK Republican

BROWNBACK
Women were human prey. The Janjaweed, the Arab militia would stroll around the borders of the camp, or lurk in places trying to pick one off, to rape her or take things from her. You looked at it and thought this is like a shark circling a school of fish.

FERGAL KEANE
Conservatives like Sam Brownback wanted Washington to push for a UN peacekeeping force. Just as they had once campaigned for the Christians of the South, the conservatives now took up the cause of the beleagured people of Darfur.

BROWNBACK
I believe that to whom much is given, much is required. The United States is the largest most powerful country in the world. When you see people hurting and suffering so much and not needing that much, I believe it does require us morally to act. If you got 20, 25,000 troops on the ground with mobility, with broadscale orders that they can respond and fire or pursue the Sudanese Government or the Janjaweed, this thing's over.

FERGAL KEANE
With a Presidential election looming Darfur became an issue. Conserviative Christians and human rights groups lobbied for serious action.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER
Those kinds of disturbing things. Lots of stories of children not being spared. Male children mostly

FERGAL KEANE
Washington responded to that pressure by sending a team of investigators to the Chad - Sudan border in July. They were police officers and prosecutors from the US System. One of them had worked on tribunals for Bosnia and Rwanda.

CAPTION: MERCEDEH MOMENI US Atrocity Documentation Team, Sudan

MOMENI
I was thrilled, I was really happy to be a part of a mission that would hopefully make a difference. The United States in the recent past had not taken the lead in these kinds of situations and I thought great, whatever the rationale is, let us go out there and bring the truth to light. FERGAL KEANE
The investigators heard harrowing testimony. Mercedeh Momeni is haunted by one woman's story. MOMENI
She and her sister were trying to lead away her young nephew who is disabled, who couldn't walk well. And on their way out they saw that their neighbour, a 90 year old man, was sitting on the ground in his hut. They urged him to run away with them, He said I can't, I physically cannot get up, and the woman and her sister continued to run with this child. Some attackers approached them, grabbed the young boy, and threw him in the hut with the 90 year old man and set the hut on fire.

I hoped that once we had brought back the facts that the analysts would put them together in such a way that enough publicity could be generated to create political will to go in and stop the violence in Darfur. Pictures of Colin Powell, US Secretary of State, in Darfur.

FERGAL KEANE
A powerful man went to visit Darfur. The crowds seemed to believe salvation was at hand. After reading the investigators report Colin Powell and his President used a word America refused to use about Rwanda fearing it would oblige military action. Though the Security Council would not use the word President Bush had no reticence when he spoke to the United Nations. It was less than six weeks before his re-election.

Pictures of Powell in Camps. CAPTION: September, 2004. GEORGE W BUSH
At this hour the world is witnessing terrible suffering and horrible crimes in the Darfur region of Sudan - crimes my government have concluded are genocide. I call on the government of Sudan to honour the ceasefire it signed and stop the killing in Darfur. FERGAL KEANE
Did it create an expectation that now something might happen?

MOMENI
Certainly. A lot of us were very happy, e mails were flying through cyberspace.

FERGAL KEANE
But those most closely involved with negotiations about Sudan at the Security Coiuncil saw it differently. Not a signal of impending action But a word used because of domestic political pressure. CAPTION: JOHN DANFORTH US Ambassador to the United Nations, 2004

DANFORTH

FERGAL KEANE
Were you consulted at all about the use of the word?

DANFORTH
No.

FERGAL KEANE
Is that surprising?

DANFORTH
No.

FERGAL KEANE
You say...

DANFORTH
I don't think I was. I mean I don't remember any particular conversation I had with respect to that.

FERGAL KEANE
Did it in any way make the job harder of resolving it, because when you use a word like genocide it carries enormous, well I don't know about legal weight, but it carries enormous moral weight and the expectation of tough action?

DANFORTH
I didn't think it had much of an effect one way or another. I just thought that this was something that was said for internal consumption within the United States, I did not think it would have very much effect within Sudan.

FERGAL KEANE
When you say internal consumption am I correct in assuming that it is the kind of language that would had appealed to the Christian Right?

DANFORTH
Right.

FERGAL KEANE
The President had used a powerful word. But his Secretary of State pointed out - it didn't mean taking action.

CAPITON: KEN ROTH Executive Director,Human Rights Watch

ROTH
Powell and the Bush administration seemed to believe that if they called it genocide, that that was doing something. So it was like, 'genocide' and then a fizzle, 'genocide' and nothing happened. So you know yes, it was nice rhetorically, it was a good rallying cry, but did it do anything to protect the people of Darfur? Not that I could see.

CAPTION: Khartoum, October 2004

FERGAL KEANE
In October 2004 - America's main ally went to Khartoum to pressure Sudan. Like the rest of the Security Council Tony Blair continued to put his faith in the African Union. By this stage there were just 390 troops and monitors but with a promise of thousands more.

BLAIR
There is not a desire for outside troops from um, you know, from the European Union or from Britain to come here, although there is a requirement for logistical support and help and financial help, and we will give that. The Sudanese promised Mr Blair they would rein in the Janjawid militia and protect the displaced. The worth of that promise would be exposed just a few weeks later. FERGAL KEANE
In November at El Geer camp I found people burning rubbish to keep warm. They had been attacked by the police the previous night. It was here I first met Samira.

CAPTION: SAMIRA

SAMIRA
They attack us and they throw teargas, that's why we're scared. That's why we all sleep together by the mosque. If we hear the police coming we all run away, we all run to the river. FERGAL KEANE
That night the police returned. We saw their vehicles driving past our hiding place.

FERGAL KEANE
We are hiding in a small hut and the police are moving around outside, and they are levelling shacks made by people during the day and we hear people shouting and crying.

The following morning they were back.

FERGAL KEANE
We've been told by a police commander that they want all off the people to move from here to a new camp, but of course to attempt to forcibly relocate any displaced population is a clear breach of international law."

SAMIRA
They started to beat everyone. Trying to get them into the vehicles. I was beaten on my back. Some of us refused to go.

FERGAL KEANE
A mother and her baby were among those teargassed.

SAMIRA
Then the soldiers came with the bulldozers. The soldiers attacked the people and the bulldozers started destroying the shelters.

FERGAL KEANE
It was a display of raw state power┐in front of United Nations aid workers and African Union observers.

CAPTION: HILARY BENN Secretary of State for International Development FERGAL KEANE
When you watched them attacking El Geer camp, what was your personal reaction, given the promises they'd made?

BENN
Well, that the promises they'd made they weren't honouring.

FERGAL KEANE
You can't have been surprised by that?

BENN
Well, given the history, I mean the fact is the government of Sudan has not told the truth on a large number of occasions. The personal experience that I've had has been that it takes constant and continual pressure in order to make progress. We have seen the result of that pressure resulting in change, we've seen it in humanitarian access, we're able to get to more people.

CAPTION: Nairobi, 18th November, 2004

FERGAL KEANE
Two weeks after the attack the Security Council met in Nairobi. It was an historic moment - only the 4th time the council had met outside New York. Darfur was discussed but the main item was the peace deal for the South - a priority familiar to UN officials who'd struggled in the past to draw attention to Darfur.

CAPTION: JAN EGELAND Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations

EGELAND
The notion was in some circles that you shouldn't bring in Darfur as an alien element that would cause problems for the effort to get the parties to make peace, finally, north- south. I think it has proven to be wrong ┐┐..you should never close your eyes to massacres one place, in the object of ending war somewhere else.

BENN
I don't accept actually the criticism that the North- South peace process was prioritised at the expense of what we were seeking to do in Darfur. What we were trying to do was to do these two things in parallel. And do not forget about the north-south peace process and the comprehensive peace agreement, that brought to an end, eventually, the longest-running civil war in Africa that killed, oh, about two and a half million people FERGAL KEANE
A month later violence escalated in Darfur. It was now a full year since Kofi Annan had first condemned the human rights abuses. After a series of rebel attacks the Government's tactics of scorched earth resumed. Soldiers and Janjawid, backed by aircraft, rampaged through villages driving thousands more out of their homes. CAPTION: CAPTAIN BRIAN STEIDLE African Union Monitor

BRIAN STEIDLE
That was probably the worst that I saw because it was very, very co-ordinated. They were clearing a wide corridor of any village, of anybody that was there. And it finally culminated with the attack on Labado, which was a village of 20,000 people , which was completely burnt to the ground.

FERGAL KEANE
Did you feel a sense of shame, that you and the rest of international community were standing by while these people were dying?

BRIAN STEIDLE
Sure I did. I stood in, I was in one village once, village of Izban, where we were investigating a bombing by the Sudanese government. And I stood there and they introduced every one of the team members. And when they introduced me, Brian, as an American, the entire village that was standing there in front of us stood up and applauded me, because they thought that they were safe, that now America has come here, to their village, to save them. And I wasn't able to do anything. And still we haven't done enough.

FERGAL KEANE
But events far beyond Darfur offered another means of pressure. Since the Balkan wars and Rwanda international justice had evolved. Human rights groups have lobbied the Security Council to threaten Sudan with prosecution before an international court.

CAPTION: KEN ROTH Executive Director,Human Rights Watch

KEN ROTH
The last thing these sophisticated leaders want to do is to spend their dying days dodging arrest warrants in the Sudanese desert. They want to be able to maintain their, their privileged lifestyle and travel to the west, send their kids to school in the west, and they are going to do anything they can to avoid prosecution by the ICC.

FERGAL KEANE
Now two years after the violence began justice for the victims was a possibility. A UN inquiry said Sudan had not instigated genocide - but found evidence of crimes against humanity. But there was an obstacle to justice.

America opposed the new International Criminal Court - fearing it might be used against US troops fighting in places like Iraq. Britain now lobbied America not to block a Security Council resolution sending the names of 51 Sudanese - among them senior leaders - to the international court.

HILARY BENN
We argued very strongly that this was the right thing to do in the circumstances. Having created the instrument of the International Criminal Court, as you know this was the first referral by the UN Security Council, and it was the best way with confidence of showing that the international community could bring to account those responsible (UN Security Council Vote. American abstained on the vote.)

CAPTION: CHARLES SNYDER Bureau of African Affairs US Department of State

SNYDER
Well I can tell you the decision went to the President so┐ (laugh) both sides of the┐ of the issue were fully explored. But again I think it says how important the issue of Darfur is to the United States. The ICC is not an insignificant issue for us, but because of what had gone on in Darfur we literally took the decision to abstain and step aside and let this process go forward, rather than wind up with no high level justice on the table.

FERGAL KEANE
Sudan's leadership has said it won't cooperate with the court. It denies committing crimes against humanity. And blames the rebel uprising for much of the violence. But among the 51 names handed to the ICC is believed to be the Presidents head of military intelligence Salah Gosh.

DR MUKESH KAPILA United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator, Sudan

KAPILA
All the key military intelligence people who were at the top of the Sudan government machinery are implicated in the ethnic cleansing in Darfur.

FERGAL KEANE
Salah Gosh is one of the most formidable spies in the region. Back in 1990s when Sudan hosted Osama Bin Laden he was assigned to liase with the Saudi terrorist. Sudan expelled Bin Laden but Salah Gosh's agents have penetrated Al Quaida.

FERGAL KEANE
How important is Sudan to the United States in terms of the war on terror and the counterterrorism operation?

CAPTION: CHARLES SNYDER Bureau of African Affairs US Department of State

CHARLES SNYDER
9/11 I think focused their attention like it focused ours, and they immediately moved to a much higher level of cooperation with us, and I would say now the level of cooperation we have with them is among the best in the world in terms of practical terms. They're important to us but as I've said in other forums, that did not cause us to pull our punches.

FERGAL KEANE
But just six weeks ago the CIA sent a private jet to bring Salah Gosh to Washington. Not for questioning about the ethnic cleansing of Darfur - but for talks on fighting terrorism.

FERGAL KEANE
Was it morally wise to bring Sallah Gosh here to Washington on an executive jet?

CHARLES SNYDER
Obviously the judgement we made included the moral factors that our relationship with him was such that it merited this trip and this kind of liaison visit that he wanted┐┐. And you've got to remember again, no one has been held accountable nobody has been found guilty of any of this, and it could very well turn out to be that the accusations that are made against Sallah Gosh and many others on this so-called list of 51...

FERGAL KEANE
... chief of military intelligence didn't command responsibility for what was happening in Darfur?

CHARLES SNYDER
He could very well have known, but again the issue is, is that the standard of justice. There are rogue elements operating in this. There have been rogue elements operating all along.

FERGAL KEANE
You don't seriously believe that, do you ?

CHARLES SNYDER
I think it's a distinct possibility and we will not be in a position to judge this until we see the facts on the table. The facts I see on the table don't lead me to an iron clad conclusion of that nature. That's just simply as I know them today.

CAPTION: KOFI ANNAN Secretary General, United Nations

FERGAL KEANE
The post 9/11 world seems to be a place in which we revert to the politics of national interest. If Darfur shows you anything, I would put it to you that's what it shows.

ANNAN
Yes.

FERGAL KEANE
How do you possibly persuade people that the word 'never again' means anything when this happens?

ANNAN
I recall about two years ago a young Rwandan woman asked me: "Mr Secretary General could you assure me that we can never have another disaster like we had in Rwanda?" I had to tell her honestly I cannot give her that assurance. ┐ I think we have the means, we have the resources, what is often lacking is the will.

FERGAL KEANE
The consequences of the failure to act decisively and in time are evident everywhere in Darfur. All of this a catastrophe which happened in our time and in spite of our promises.

CAPTION: SENATOR SAM BROWNBACK Republican

BROWNBACK
You can look back and in various genocides throughout the 1900's and you can say, well okay we didn't know as much about it as quickly, or it went on longer, I think all those are excuses because ultimately really you do know and you do choose not to act. But you get towards the late mid 1990's and now and we've got satellite imagery, we have information coming out, cell phones from workers, we know what's taking place, we know when it's taking place and we choose not to act. I think that's just a higher degree of judgement that people would place on us, people look back on Rwanda and say never again and yet it's happening and we know it.

CAPTION: JOHN DANFORTH US Ambassador to the United Nations, 2004

DANFORTH
I do not have any feeling at all that if the United States had done something different, Darfur wouldn't have happened, I don't believe that. I don't believe that with respect to any other country either, other than Sudan itself. I think that countries are ultimately responsible for what goes on within their own borders and that it's not realistic to try and blame somebody else for something like this.

HILARY BENN
It's a terrible tragedy what has happened, and I wish we could have done more and I wish we had done more earlier. But it's important that we should learn the lessons, this is a process. We haven't got it right in this instance, but if we can draw on that experience, build capacity and political will, then hopefully we can do more in future FERGAL KEANE
Violence has declined since prosecutions were threatened and the government has grounded its bombers, but most of the millions of displaced, those like Samira and her son, are still too afraid to go home The African Union force is expanding but there are still too few troops to protect them.

SAMIRA
We are waiting for the United Nations, waiting for a decision, waiting for them to protect us, so we can go back to our homes. If they leave it to the Sudanese Government we won't be safe.

FERGAL KEANE
Samira and her son are among the millions of Africans to whom the G8 leaders will promise a future with hope. Having lost more than 70 members of her family group she understands the price of broken promises. It is not that the world didn't care about Darfur - it is that it didn't care enough...

... And the promise of Never Again was broken again.

FERGAL KEANE
When people look back at the history of this time as they looked back at what happened in Rwanda, how will they judge the way the world responded to the tragedy of Darfur, to the cries of its people for help? It's going to be a pretty damning judgement isn't it?

ANNAN
Quite likely. Quite likely that we were slow, hesitant, uncaring and that we have learnt nothing from Rwanda.


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