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PRESS CONFERENCE BY INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT PROSECUTOR ON DARFUR

Department of Public Information . News and Media Division . New York

20 September 2007

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, said at a Headquarters press conference this morning that there could be no political, security or humanitarian solution in Darfur as long as alleged war criminals remained free.

“We cannot witness another Rwanda and be in silence,” he said, noting that the Government of the Sudan had failed thus far to comply with Court-issued warrants for the arrests of Ahmad Harun, a Humanitarian Affairs Minister, and Ali Kushayb, a leader of the Janjaweed militia for 51 crimes against humanity and war crimes. The silence of most States and international organizations on the subject of the warrants was understood in Khartoum as a weakening of international resolve in support of the law, and of Mr. Harun’s arrest.

He said Mr. Harun had recruited Janjaweed militias to attack the civilian population of Darfur, forcing millions into camps. Following his indictment the Government had a duty to arrest and transfer him to the Court. “However, they are denying Ahmad Harun’s crimes. The world cannot share in this denial.” In Darfur, the first phase of the Harun plan was being witnessed, in which many people forced out of their villages and into camps would not survive without humanitarian help. In the second phase, which was happening at present, Mr. Harun was controlling the victims inside the camps, as well as access to food, humanitarian aid and security.

Mr. Harun was not protecting the camps, but controlling them, while displaced persons trying to organize themselves within the camps were being expelled with no means of survival, the Prosecutor said. “He must be discovered. He must be arrested.” At the same time, there were consistent and disturbing reports that new settlers and outsiders were occupying the lands and villages left behind by the displaced persons.

World leaders must understand that if the justice process was ignored, crimes would continue, affecting humanitarian and security operations in Darfur, he said, calling upon the international community to press Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir and his Government to follow the law and make the arrests. Hopefully, the recent talks in Khartoum between the President and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon would bear fruit.

He noted that Darfur would be a subject of discussions in the coming days and weeks. (The second high-level consultation on Darfur will take place at Headquarters Friday, 21 September. Participants will include Ministers from more than 25 countries, as well as senior officials from the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union and the League of Arab States. Peace negotiations between the parties directly involved in the Darfur crisis are planned for Libya later in the year.)

Those attending the high-level consultations must remind the Sudanese Government of its duty to arrest Ahmad Harun, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo reiterated, noting that millions of victims were awaiting news of value as they followed what was happening at the United Nations. They were waiting to hear that the international community was with them in supporting the arrest of Mr. Harun. “Justice in Darfur must be on the agenda; arresting Ahmad Harun must be on the top of the agenda.”

Responding to questions, the Prosecutor emphasized that there could be no solution to the problem of Darfur with Mr. Harun in charge of the victims within the camps. The Government was denying the problem’s existence.

He told another questioner that he would prosecute those responsible for the crimes committed in Darfur according to the evidence collected.

Asked what anybody could realistically do in the face of the Government’s adamant opposition to arresting Mr. Harun, he said International Criminal Court judges would decide the value of the evidence and the law had to be respected.

To a suggestion that diplomacy should be pursued, he responded by pointing out that he was not a diplomat but a prosecutor. The International Criminal Court had received the referral of the Darfur case from the Security Council. It was the duty of the Prosecutor to collect the evidence and that of the judges to decide the law.

Underscoring the importance of a comprehensive solution to the Darfur problem - including humanitarian help, security, development, political and justice - he said any such solution must be compatible with the law. The Office of the Prosecutor was not requesting peacekeepers to arrest anybody as that was not their mandate. Rather, it was the duty of the Government of the Sudan to carry out the arrests of those indicted. It knew of Ahmad Harun’s whereabouts.

He noted that the Sudanese Government had set up a National Commission of Inquiry which had recognized the role of the Janjaweed leader but denied the involvement of a member of the Government. That had the international community worried. The commission had said that it had no evidence against Mr. Harun, and while he could provide it with evidence, he could not provide it with witnesses, whom he had a duty to protect. Ahmad Harun would see all the evidence presented against him in The Hague.

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For information media • not an official record



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