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Secretary-General gives list of Darfur war crimes suspects to international court

5 April 2005 In a concerted effort to end "the culture of impunity," United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) a sealed list of 51 names of people blamed for war crimes in the conflict between the Sudanese Government, allied militia and rebels in the country's Darfur region.

But in Sudan, where public statements and media comment have repeated the Government's refusal to allow any Sudanese citizens to be tried in foreign courts, tens of thousands of people demonstrated against the Security Council resolution referring the issue to the ICC, with some attacking a perimeter fence and stoning a UN compound.

"Now, we have a common task - to end the culture of impunity," ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo said on receiving the list compiled by the UN-appointed International Commission of Inquiry, which found that crimes against humanity and war crimes had been committed, including mass killings of innocent civilians, systematic rape of girls and women, torture, destruction of villages and burning of family homes.

"I will closely monitor ongoing crimes in Darfur as well as efforts to prevent and stop them," he added of the conflict in which tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than 2 million others driven from their homes since rebels took up arms in early 2003, partly in protest at the distribution of economic resources.

Earlier today the ICC, based in The Hague, received thousands of documents collected by the Commission and Mr. Moreno Ocampo said he would analyze them and assess the crimes and the admissibility of the cases.

Appointed to determine whether genocide had occurred, the five-member Commission found that although no genocidal policy had been pursued, "international offences such as the crimes against humanity and war crimes that have been committed in Darfur may be no less serious and heinous than genocide."

Meanwhile in Khartoum, Sudan's capital, the UN mission reported that some of the tens of thousands of protesters attacked the perimeter fence of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) compound. When that failed, they threw stones into it until a group of elders and community leaders passed a letter into the building for transmission to the Secretary-General.

Earlier, a group of students threw stones at a rental car with UN markings. No casualties were reported. A similar demonstration was planned for Port Sudan today and on Sunday a protest took place in El-Fasher in North Darfur.

In Darfur today, Mr. Annan's Special Representative Jan Pronk continued his tour amid reports of continued insecurity. In North Darfur, some 800 people at the Abu Shouk camp for displaced persons staged a demonstration to protest against the high level of rapes around the camps and the continued lack of security.

In South Darfur, tribesmen entered Kalma camp at the weekend and harassed the population. The local police, claiming there was no wrongdoing, refused to take action. Later, members of the African Union civilian police unit dispersed the armed men, following requests from humanitarian organizations.

The UN mission said that in Nyala, South Darfur's main town, police continued to demand incentives in the form of fuel and food for carrying out security patrols despite the clear understanding that this is a responsibility of the Government of Sudan.

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