Six paramilitary Rapid Support Forces officers were condemned to death by a Sudanese court on Thursday for the 2019 killing of six students protesting economic hardship while civilians negotiated power-sharing with the military.
Personnel from the RS, which is commanded by the deputy leader of Sudan’s transitional governing body, are being prosecuted for these and other alleged executions.
The civilian court in Elobeid, where the killings occurred, said in a statement that the defendants broke RSF law and behaved individually, adding that “their actions have no relation to the forces they were part of.”
It was unclear whether the six would file an appeal against the verdict.
Following the June 3, 2019, killing of dozens of protestors demanding a faster transition to civilian, democratic administration following an uprising that deposed veteran President Omar al-Bashir, the young victims were part of a student protest.
During the Darfur conflict in the early 2000s, members of the RSF, which arose from Bashir’s Janjaweed forces, were accused of atrocities.
Another member of the RSF was found guilty and condemned to die in May for running down a protester shortly after the June incident.
On the Sovereign Council, civilian Sudanese officials who share authority with the long-dominant military, as well as world powers, have called for the RSF to be absorbed into the regular armed forces.
The commander of the RSF and deputy head of the Sovereign Council, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, has expressed reservations about taking such a step.
The country’s Sovereign Council has stated that free elections will be held in 2024.
The Elobeid court, on the other hand, acquitted two additional RSF officers, concluding that they did not carry weapons and attempted to avert protester deaths.