Timeline Description: Darfur is a region of Sudan and is predominantly made up of Arab Muslims. When two Darfuri rebel groups launched a rebellion against the Sudanese government in 2003, the government enlisted nomadic Arab tribes to resolve the conflict. These tribes formed militias who, with the support of the government, began kidnapping and killing civilians, burning villages, and committing widespread rape. In 2004 the United States recognized these actions as genocide under the United Nations Genocide Convention. Though South Sudan has since separated from the northern part of the country, violence is still widespread.
|April 2003||Rebels attack a Sudanese government air force base.
Blaming decades of government oppression, Muslim, non-Arab rebels from the Darfur Liberation Front (DLF) attack the Sudanese air force base in Al-Fashir. The DLF later splits into two movements: the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A), and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).
|2003||The Sudanese government enlists nomadic Arab tribes to resolve the conflict.(Spring 2003)
Promising land in exchange for military allegiance, the Sudanese government enlists nomadic Arab tribes in Darfur to stop the DLF rebellion. This action "Arabizes" the actions of the conflict and lays the foundations for genocide.
|July 2003||Janjaweed militias begin wreaking havoc throughout Darfur.
The nomadic Arab tribes form militias called the Janjaweed ("devil on horseback" in Arabic) and begin wreaking havoc throughout Darfur, with the support of the Sudanese government. They kidnap Darfuris, burn and loot villages, and rape and murder their victims. By the end of 2003, at least one million Darfuris have been internally displaced, and around 100,000 are refugees in neighboring Chad.
|2004||The UN Refugee Agency establishes refugee camps.(Early 2004)
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) establishes formal refugee camps in eastern Chad along Sudanese border, in order to provide food, healthcare, and shelter for the growing number of refugees. By the end of 2004, 185,000 Darfuris are registered as refugees in Chad. However, Chad's porous border leaves these camps insecure.
|April 8, 2004||Involved groups agree to a ceasefire.
Led by the African Union (AU), a number of groups involved in the conflict, including the Sudanese government, the SLM/A, and the JEM, sign the N'Djamena Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement. Despite agreeing to a ceasefire, violence continues in Darfur.
|September 9, 2004||The U.S. administration labels the events in Darfur "a genocide."
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell becomes the first member of the U.S. executive branch to declare the conflict in Darfur "a genocide." A report places the blame on the Sudanese government, but the UN and other international coalitions do not agree.
|August 2004||The African Union Mission in Sudan sends peacekeeping troops to Darfur.
The African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) is formed and sends 7,000 Rwandan and Nigerian peacekeeping troops to work in Darfur. However, this small force is ill-equipped to prevent the frequent attacks still occurring in Darfur. By the end of 2004, around 2 million civilians have been displaced within Darfur and Chad, and around 100,000 civilians have died.
|January 9, 2005||Sudan and the SPLM/A sign a peace agreement.
The Sudanese government and the SPLM/A sign the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ends the decades-long Second Sudanese Civil War. The agreement includes a permanent ceasefire and accords on wealth and power sharing.
|March 2005||The UN takes steps towards a formal investigation of war crimes.
The UN Security Council authorizes sanctions against those who violate the ceasefire in Darfur. The Council also votes to refer those accused of war crimes in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC begins a formal investigation in June, but the Sudanese government refuses to cooperate. Despite UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's active approach to addressing the conflict, attacks continue and the number of Darfuri refugees in Chad rises to more than 200,000.
|May 5, 2006||The Sudanese government and one faction of the SLA sign a peace agreement.
Following peace negotiations with Darfuri rebel groups, the Sudanese government, the AU, and the U.S., the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), also known as the Abuja Agreement, is signed by the government of Sudan and one faction of the SLA, led by MinniMinawi. JEM and the other faction of the SLA refuse to sign, due to unacceptable provisions. The agreement ultimately fails to bring peace to Darfur, and violence continues.
|April 27, 2007||The ICC issues arrest warrants for leaders involved in Darfur.
Following its investigation, the ICC issues arrest warrants for former Sudanese Minister of State for the Interior Ahmad Harun and Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb. They are both suspected of Darfur war crimes.
|July 31, 2007||The UN establishes a hybrid peacekeeping operation, to little success.
The African Union/UN Hybrid operation (UNAMID) is established to take over peacekeeping operations in Darfur, but full deployment is slow. Government planes bomb rebel positions in West Darfur, turning some areas into no-go zones for aid workers. By the end of the year, the number of displaced Darfuris in Chad reaches an all-time high.
|March 4, 2009||The ICC issues an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al Bashir for war crimes.
Following its investigation, the ICC issues an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al Bashir for directing a campaign of mass killing, rape, and pillage against civilians in Darfur. This marks the first time such a charge has been issued against a sitting head of state. The Sudanese government refuses to surrender Bashir to the ICC.
|February 23, 2010||JEM signs a peace accord with Sudan.
JEM, the main Darfur rebel movement at this point, signs a peace accord with the Sudanese government, prompting President Bashir to declare the Darfur war over. However, their failure to agree on specifics and continuing clashes with smaller rebel groups endanger the deal.
|July 9, 2011||South Sudan gains independence.
In a major step towards ending the violence, South Sudan declares its independence and becomes the world's newest country. Nevertheless, violence continues against the people of Darfur and other disputed regions.