Saturday, July 02, 2005

HR 3127


Thursday, June 30, new legislation on Darfur, the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act (HR 3127), was introduced in the House by Reps. Hyde, Payne, Smith, Lantos, Royce, Tancredo, Wolf, Jackson-Lee, and Capuano. HR 3127 has been introduced by a strong bipartisan coalition in the House. It is expected to be marked up and scheduled for floor action soon after Congress returns from its July 4 recess (July 1-10). Discussions are beginning on a possible Senate companion.

HR 3127 is modeled on previous legislation, the Darfur Genocide Accountability Act (HR 1424), but does not include authorization for the use of force, oil sanctions, or a no fly zone. It does include:

- Sense of Congress language reaffirming the finding of genocide, urging expansion and a stronger mandate for the AU mission; calling on the U.S. to render assistance to efforts of the ICC in Darfur; calling for “additional, dispositive measures” if the AU mission fails to stop the genocide; and calling for appointment of a Presidential Envoy for Sudan;

- Asset and travel sanctions against individuals designated by the President as responsible for atrocities in Darfur (allowing a Presidential waiver);

- Authorization to the Administration to provide assistance to reinforce the AU mission (AMIS), “including but not limited to” logistics, transport, communications, training, command and control, technical, and aerial surveillance;

- Instructions to use the U.S. voice, vote, and influence to advocate NATO reinforcement of AMIS, including assets to deter air strikes against civilians, logistical, transport, communications, training, technical, command and control, aerial surveillance, and intelligence support;

- Denial of entry at U.S. ports to cargo ships or oil tankers engaged in business or trade in the oil sector of Sudan or involved in the shipment of goods for use by Sudan Armed Forces;

- Prohibition of non-humanitarian assistance from countries which violate the military embargo imposed by UNSCR 1556 and 1591;

- Direction to the Administration to pursue passages of a UNSC resolution expanding AMIS, pressing on peace talks, imposing individual sanctions, and calling for suspension of Sudan’s rights and privileges of membership in the General Assembly; and,

- Reporting requirements on sanctions imposed by the Comprehensive Peace in Sudan Act (2004) and on the status of the AMIS mission and U.S. assistance to it.

What about HR 1424?

While other legislation in the House, the Darfur Genocide Accountability Act (HR 1424), had previously received significant support (120 cosponsors) and notable public attention, it had not garnered sufficient bipartisan backing to move forward. Objections by leadership in the House to certain provisions (particularly authorization of use of force and oil sanctions) made clear that HR 1424 would not move forward. Thus, the original sponsors of HR 1424 worked with leadership in the House to craft a bill that would garner strong bipartisan support and move forward while still addressing the key issues of civilian protection, accountability, an end to the violence in Darfur, and a comprehensive peace in Sudan. The result is HR 3127, the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act. While it does not include some of the strongest provisions of HR 1424, it maintains a strong stand on support for the AU mission, including a NATO role; includes a number of individual sanctions and prohibitions; includes a call for cooperation with the ICC (which was not in HR 1424); and requires useful reporting by the Administration on the critical issues of AMIS support and U.S. sanctions. It also maintains a bipartisan coalition on Darfur and ensures legislative action this summer. The new bill, HR 3127, is supported by original sponsors of HR 1424 and Republican leaders.