2023 Wayamo Annual Report – Breaking the cycle of impunity for international crimes

kotarski Judicial Capacity Building

Wayamo is very pleased to share with you its 2023 annual report. Click here for the full 2023 annual report. And see Wayamo’s reports page for past annual reports and other Wayamo publications. 

In the report, Wayamo Director Bettina Ambach summarised the organisation’s year, noting that 2023 was a difficult year for our Sudanese partners, colleagues and friends. The armed conflict that broke out between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on 15 April 2023 disrupted their hopes and dreams for a democratic civilian-led Sudan. Wayamo’s in-country programming was rendered impossible and many were forced to flee Sudan for their own safety. In the face of these challenges, our partners and colleagues, many of whom are now in the diaspora, have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to justice and accountability for historical and ongoing international crimes in Sudan. Wayamo remains steadfast in its commitment to empower Sudanese lawyers, and civil society actors in the vital work of addressing these crimes and human rights violations.

Within a month of the war breaking out in Sudan, Wayamo convened an expert meeting on remote documentation and open-source research methodologies, attended by Sudanese civil society actors and leading experts from the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria, the Sudanese Archive, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, UN Panel of Experts/ Commissions of Inquiry, the US State Department, Office of Global Criminal Justice and the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability (AGJA). Wayamo maintained this momentum throughout the year, holding multiple workshops and symposia on the documentation of human rights violations, exploring universal jurisdiction options in Africa and case building, and supporting our journalists’ network with capacity building and the dissemination of high-quality journalism.

In 2023, AGJA was pleased to welcome two new members, Fatou Bensouda, former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) from The Gambia, and Aïchatou Mindaoudou from Niger, the former United Nations Special Representative in Côte d’Ivoire, and former Acting Joint UN/AU Special Representative in Darfur, Sudan. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, AGJA members were able to reconvene for the first time for an in-person strategic meeting. The meeting, which was held in May 2023 in Nairobi Kenya, marked the culmination of a week-long series of events, including a symposium that AGJA co-organised with Wayamo entitled, “Transition from where? Transition to what? Exploring transitional justice efforts in an ever- changing world”. In addition to these events, AGJA members were also active in other Wayamo-organised programming, capacity-building workshops and symposia throughout the year.

Wayamo continued its programme in Nigeria, supporting interagency collaboration between investigative and prosecution authorities working on Boko Haram cases, as well as mentoring and helping with the digitisation of case files for the Complex Casework Group (CCG). Together with the United Nations Team of Experts on the Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict (UNTOE) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Wayamo organised a workshop for Nigerian prosecutors from the CCG and investigators from the Joint Investigation Centre (JIC) on Investigating and Prosecuting Conflict- Related Sexual Violence. Wayamo also partnered with the Nigerian National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on a lecture for NHRC staff, senior CCG prosecutors, and lawyers from the International Law Department of the Ministry of Justice, on international criminal law and its domestic application with a special focus on inquiries and investigations.

In December 2023, the Wayamo Foundation launched its Sudan online justice hub, after several months of preparation and development. The hub
is a bilingual English and Arabic website that provides a comprehensive platform, consolidating print and multimedia materials related to the ongoing conflict in Sudan, regional and international experiences with justice, and tools that empower civil society actors to respond to ongoing violations in the country.

Needless to say, our activities would not have been possible without the generous support of our donors. Wayamo is most grateful to them for their consistent support this past year, which has been essential to our progress. We value their partnership and look forward to our continued collaboration in pursuing justice and accountability for international crimes in the coming year – and beyond!