ICC issues warrant because of G3-supplies to Janjaweed
by Roman Deckert
The International Criminal Court in the Hague has found: Heckler & Koch arms
technology serves in Darfur to commit crimes against humanity. Chief-prosecutor Luis
Moreno-Ocampo accuses the Sudanese Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs (!) Mohamed
Ahmed Harun of having supplied the Janjaweed-Militia with G3 assault rifles. The judges
issued a warrant in May 2007.
There is plenty of evidence on the use of G3 in the war that has left up to 400.000
people dead and forced more than two million civilians to flee their homes since 2003. The
United Nations, Human rights activists and journalists have provided documentation again
and again. Most photographs of fighters from the Western Sudanese region show not only the
omni-present Kalashnikov but also the international bestseller from Heckler & Koch.
The G3 can even be identified on drawings of traumatized children from refugee camps.
The G3 has got a long and devastating tradition in Darfur. Already in 1966 the Embassy
of the Federal Republic of Germany in Chad reported to Bonn that West German arms were
used in armed clashes on the border with Sudan. The Sudanese army by then had received
nearly 30.000 G3 through West German military aid. Chad had bought thousands of G3 from
the notorious West German arms dealer Gerhard Mertins with approval by the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs in Bonn. The Sudanese army, which traditionally recruits a large number
of its soldiers and officers from Darfur, continued to receive massive stocks of G3 and
other Heckler-rifles during the Seventies from Oberndorf, the seat of H&K. During the
Eighties it supplied G3 from licence production in Great Britain and Saudi-Arabia to the
Murahalin-Militia that fought rebels in Southern Sudan.
It is an undisputed fact that the ever increasing influx of small arms into the
marginalized region was the decisive catalyst for the conflict that turned into a full
scale war in 2003. The German Society for Threatend People (GfbV) already in 2004
published a detailed report that the regime in Khartoum armed the Janjaweed with G3 from
Iranian licence production. However, when the conservative member of the Federal
Parliament Hartwig Fischer requested more information on this issue from the federal
government, Permanent Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs Jürgen Chrobog replied coolly,
that his ministry "does not have a clear picture about the origins of G3-rifles in
Sudan". His analysts should have looked up Jane´s Defence Weekly which for
instance made the transfer of 50.000 Iranian G3 public in 1992.
The true dimension of this scandal is best described by what the Harvard-scholar Alex
de Waal, who has specialized on Darfur for decades, writes: "Some claim that their
name - the Janjawiid - derives from »G3« (a rifle) and »jawad« (horse)". The
Iranian Defence Industries Organisation in the meantime proudly advertises its Heckler
& Koch high quality products (www.diomil.ir/en/aig.aspx link "assault rifles") - just as
the Pakistan Ordnance Factories do (www.pof.gov.pk/products.htm). POF has also stated that it maintains
the Sudanese ammunition plant in Sheggera / Yarmouk which had once been set up by the then
state-owned West German company Fritz-Werner.
It is therefore most unfortunate that the German press hardly ever mentions the
disastrous role of the G3 in Darfur but all the more focuses on the use of the
Kalashnikov. As a matter of fact, even quite a few of those are most probably of German
origin. For during the Cold War the East German regime had supplied Hundreds of Thousands
of AK47 and AKM from its own production to Ethiopia and Libya which in turn supported
Sudanese rebels. A recent Amnesty International survey has found that the Janjaweed still
use stocks of old East German ammunition for their Kalashnikovs. Therefore the German
government should account for its historical responsibility and combat the proliferation
of small arms through increased support for DDR programmes.
is a researcher in the Berlin
Information-center for Transatlantic Security (BITS). He writes his PhD-thesis on the
history of German-Sudanese Relations.