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Press Conference By Prosecutor Of International Criminal Court Following His Meeting With Security Council Concerning Report On Darfur

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

5 December 2007

By not arresting a Government Minister who was the subject of an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court, the Sudan was failing to comply with a Security Council resolution compelling it to cooperate with the tribunal, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, said at Headquarters this afternoon.

“This morning, I reported to the Security Council that Sudan is not complying with resolution 1593,” he said during a press conference following his meeting with the Security Council to discuss the Court’s report on Darfur. By adopting resolution 1593 (2005) two years ago, the Council referred the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court based in The Hague.

The Sudan had failed so far to execute Court-issued arrest warrants for Ahmad Harun, formerly Minister of State for the Interior and now Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, and Ali Kushayb, a leader of the militia known as the Janjaweed. Both men were wanted by the International Criminal Court under summonses issued by the Court’s Pre-Trial Chamber on 27 April 2007 and transmitted to Khartoum on 16 June 2007. They were suspected of links with crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur.

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo went on to say that a “consistent pattern of massive crimes” continued to be committed in Darfur today. Some 2.5 million people forced to seek refuge in camps in 2004 were now being attacked in those same camps. “The attacks have different forms. Women are raped as soon as they leave the camps. Men are killed.” Security services were raiding buildings in the camps, local leaders were arrested, and the Government of the Sudan had allowed the militia/Janjaweed to be present in most of the camps. “One of the biggest concerns for me is that the Sudanese officials who have to protect these people in fact are those who are attacking them.”

He said that, when Ahmad Harun had been Minister of State for the Interior, he had coordinated the attacks in Darfur, recruited the militia/Janjaweed into the reserves forces, and incited attacks against the civilian population. “Now this man, sought by the Court, remains Minister of Humanitarian Affairs. His formal duty is to protect the people in the camps. He’s not doing that.”

The Prosecutor, a veteran jurist from Argentina who took office on 16 June 2003, described as a “cover-up” the view held by some people that the current situation in Darfur amounted to “sporadic incidents (and) an inter-tribal fight”. What was happening was a pattern of systematic attacks against the same civilians who had been removed (from their homes). “These people have a difficult choice -- to stay in the camps under attack or move back to their homes in what has become hostile territory. They are left with no hopes for the present, no prospects for the future.”

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo also expressed concern about attacks on African Union peacekeepers in Darfur, emphasizing that not only were they war crimes, but according to the Rome Statute that had created the Court, they also undermined the security of displaced persons in Darfur.

Asked whether indictments might be extended to other senior Sudanese Government officials, the Prosecutor said his policy was to investigate those bearing responsibility. “What we are finding is that Harun is important, but he is not alone. My only limit is the evidence.”

Questioned about a remark, attributed to the Permanent Representative of the Sudan to the United Nations, to the effect that his investigation might upset the peace process in the Sudan, he replied that his mandate was to collect evidence in an impartial way. “I cannot be involved in political issues and I will not be involved in political issues. The law has to be respected. Those who commit crimes have to face justice.”

He added that the fact that the Sudan was not a party to the Rome Statute was no reason for it not to cooperate with the International Criminal Court. Under resolution 1593 (2005), all Member States had an obligation to cooperate with the Court, and that included the Sudan.

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For information media • not an official record

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