International Court Proceeding with Darfur War Crimes Prosecutions
29 June 2005
ICC prosecutor has evidence of grave crimes, looting, killing of thousands
By Judy Aita
Washington File United Nations Correspondent
United Nations -- The International Criminal Court (ICC) is proceeding with its own investigation of war crimes in the Darfur region of Sudan and has found "a significant amount of credible information" that grave crimes were committed, the court's chief prosecutor said June 29.
Luis Moreno Ocampo reported to the U.N. Security Council that the crimes include "the killing of thousands of civilians [and] the widespread destruction and looting of villages, leading to the displacement of approximately 1.9 million civilians.
"The conditions of life resulting from these crimes have led to the deaths of tens of thousands from disease and starvation, particularly affecting vulnerable groups such as children, the sick and the elderly. Information also highlights a pervasive pattern of rape and sexual violence," he said.
The "persistent targeting and intimidation" of humanitarian personnel is also evident, the prosecutor said.
Ocampo said that in addition to the documentation turned over to the court by the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, his investigators have also collected a significant amount of information on their own.
However, the chief prosecutor said, the sealed list of 51 individuals identified by the international inquiry as potentially being responsible for the crimes remains unopened. "My office will conduct its own independent investigation in order to determine those persons who must be prosecuted. The list is an advice and will remain sealed," he said.
In April, the ICC prosecutor received more than 2,500 items, including documentation, video footage and interview transcripts, from the international inquiry. In the past two months, Ocampo said, his office has collected more than 3,000 additional documents from a variety of other sources, has been in contact with more than 100 groups and individuals, and has interviewed more than 50 individuals with specific expertise on Darfur.
Ocampo said that the court is in talks with the African Union about the possibility of conducting the trials in the region, as recommended by the Security Council.
For additional information, see Darfur Humanitarian Emergency.
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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