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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Tuesday 5 April 2005

SUDAN: UN envoy tours Darfur; ICC receives list of war-crimes suspects

NAIROBI, 5 Apr 2005 (IRIN) - The UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk, visited the western Sudanese region of Darfur on Monday and Tuesday - days after a UN Security Council resolution called for those implicated in the region's crimes to be tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC), a UN spokesman said.

"Pronk is meeting with authorities, the AU [African Union], UN agencies and NGOs," George Somerwill, deputy spokesperson for the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), told IRIN on Tuesday.

It was hoped that during his tour, Pronk would be able to explain to people on the ground how the three recent Council resolutions, intended to put pressure on Sudan to stop the crisis in Darfur, should be interpreted.

"The central message is that the sanctions and the ICC resolution [of 31 March] do not apply to all Sudanese, but only to those who commit human-rights abuses," Somerwill said.

On 29 March, the Council adopted a resolution which strengthened the arms embargo and imposed an asset freeze and travel ban on those deemed responsible for the atrocities in Darfur, or thought to be violating the ceasefire agreement.

"Pronk will also explain the mandate that was given to UNMIS, and how it applies to the situation in Darfur," Somerwill added, referring to the unanimous Council decision on 24 March to deploy a 10,000-strong peace force to southern Sudan, to monitor the January peace accord that ended its 21-year civil war.

"The UN Mission in Sudan was mandated to support the AU Ceasefire Commission in every way," he said.

UNMIS had been instructed to report to the Council within 30 days of the adoption of the resolution on how it was going to support the AU mission in Darfur.

"It will be more of what we have already been doing," Somerwill said. "We will focus primarily on communication, sharing information on what is happening on the ground - and we will give any logistical support we can provide to them."

On Monday, Pronk met members of the AU Ceasefire Commission in El Geneina, West Darfur, and visited a camp for internally displaced persons. On Tuesday, he was due to meet AU monitors in Nyala, South Darfur, as well as members of government authorities and the humanitarian community.

In New York, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was scheduled to have a meeting on Tuesday with Luis Moreno Ocampo, the ICC's prosecutor. Last week, the Security Council sent the ICC a referral about the situation in Darfur.

At that meeting, Annan was expected to give Ocampo a sealed list of 51 names of suspected perpetrators of atrocities in Darfur, given to him by the International Commission of Inquiry, which - on 31 January - published a report on their investigations into the scale of human-rights violations.

In its report, the five-member commission found that while the government had not pursued a policy of genocide, government forces and militias had conducted indiscriminate attacks, including killing civilians and destroying villages.

It also said there was credible evidence to prove that rebel forces were responsible for possible war crimes.

The war in Darfur pits Sudanese government troops and militias - allegedly allied to the government - against rebels fighting to end what they have called marginalisation and discrimination of the region's inhabitants by the state. Over 2.4 million people continue to be affected by the conflict, 1.85 million of whom are internally displaced or have been forced to flee to neighbouring Chad.


This material comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2004

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