Sudan’s prime minister named a commission to investigate a raid on a sit-in in June where security forces killed dozens near the Defence Ministry, following repeated calls for justice from protest and civilian groups.
The commission will have broad powers to summon witnesses, including officials and will be given access to official documents, security reports and medical records, according to a report by state news agency SUNA.
The decision was issued on Sunday, a day before a mass rally planned by the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which spearheaded demonstrations leading to the overthrow of former President Omar al-Bashir in April and continues to call for justice for protesters killed or wounded.
The SPA welcomed the commission, calling it “the first brick in the structure of a fair investigation and the revelation of perpetrators of the crime”.
The commission will be headed by human rights lawyers Nabil Adib. It will include senior security officers and lawyers.
The sit-in was the culmination of 16 weeks of protests that led to army officers turning against Bashir and replacing him with a military council.
Protesters stayed in the streets calling for civilian rule, until security forces moved to clear the sit-in on June 3. Witnesses said at the time security forces were led by paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
In August, opposition groups and the military signed a three-year power-sharing deal leading to the formation of an 11-member sovereign council and the appointment of a technocratic, transitional government under Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.
The commission is charged with identifying those responsible for breaking up the sit-in, as well as establishing the number of dead, wounded and missing, and financial losses incurred by those affected, SUNA reported.
The number of victims is disputed. Doctors linked to the opposition said nearly 130 people were killed in the raid and ensuing violence. Officials acknowledge 87 deaths.
The commission is set to finish work in three months and can be granted one-month extensions provided it submits progress reports.
It can also request technical assistance from the African Union, which has played a prominent role in Sudan’s transition.