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Sudan has failed to cooperate with International Criminal Court, prosecutor says

5 December 2007 – The Sudanese Government is not cooperating with the International Criminal Court (ICC), its Chief Prosecutor said today, calling on the Security Council to send “a strong and unanimous message” to Khartoum to arrest and surrender two men accused of committing war crimes during the conflict in Darfur.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo told a Council meeting that although “Sudan has known the nature of the case against Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb for 10 months, they have done nothing. They have taken no steps to prosecute them domestically, or to arrest and transfer them to The Hague [where the ICC is based].”

Mr. Harun, currently Sudan’s Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, and Mr. Kushayb, a leader of a pro-Government Janjaweed militia, are accused of targeting civilians in attacks on four villages in West Darfur between August 2003 and March 2004, according to their warrants, which outline multiple counts of personal responsibility for murder, rape and pillaging for each man.

“The only realist solution today is to request the removal and arrest of [Mr.] Harun as a first step to any solution,” Mr. Moreno-Ocampo told Council members. “It will send a signal to the perpetrators of crimes in Darfur that the international community is not only watching, but will hold them accountable for their actions.”

The Prosecutor said “massive crimes continued to be committed” across Darfur, where at least 200,000 people have been killed since 2003 and up to 2.5 million others forced to leave their homes because of fighting between rebel groups, Government forces and allied Janjaweed militias.

He is planning to open two new investigations into the situation in Darfur: one into “a pattern of attacks by Sudanese officials” against civilians, and the other into the rising number of attacks, with involvement by rebels, against peacekeepers and aid workers.

“In Darfur in 2003-2004, we witnessed the first phase of the criminal plan coordinated by Ahmad Harun. Millions of people were forced out of their villages and into camps. In the second phase – happening right now in front of our eyes – the victims are attacked in the camps.”

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said that to characterize recent attacks and crimes as “sporadic violence” or “inter-tribal clashes” only served to cover up the reality.

“We are witnessing a calculated, organized campaign by Sudanese officials to attack individuals and further destroy the social fabric of entire communities. All information points not to chaotic and isolated acts, but to a pattern of attacks.”

He added that Darfur’s displaced are routinely subjected to persecution and abuses, such as unlawful killings, illegal detentions and episodes of sexual violence, while those living inside camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) “are deliberately kept in a state of destitution. Obstacles to the delivery of aid are part of the pattern of attacks.”

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo expressed particular concern that Mr. Harun, despite being indicted by the ICC, was responsible as a Sudanese Government minister for providing relief to the victims of violence and displacement in Darfur.

“Formally, he shares responsibility for the safety and well-being of the displaced population. In reality, he joins in constant abuses against them,” he said, accusing a component of Mr. Harun’s ministry of promoting organized disturbances in the camps.

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said Mr. Harun has also been present during specific operations against IDP camps in recent months, and added that he was last month appointed to a national group overseeing the deployment of UNAMID, the hybrid UN-African Union peacekeeping force that is being set up to try to quell the violence and suffering in Darfur.

“Maintaining Harun is his position is a direct threat to millions of victims and to the humanitarian workers and peacekeepers seeking to protect them. When will be a better time to arrest Harun? How many more women, girls, have to be raped? How many persons have to be killed? Must we really wait, again, for the destruction of entire communities?”

Turning to the increasing number of attacks against aid workers and peacekeepers, he noted that in late October 10 soldiers of the existing AU mission in Sudan were killed, eight others injured and one unaccounted for after an attack on the mission’s base at Haskanita.

“Such attacks or threats of attack on peacekeepers and aid personnel will be investigated by my Office. They can constitute a war crime under the Statute. They also further undermine efforts to protect the civilian population.

The Prosecutor added that “we note with concern that the Sudan is taking no measures to protect international forces. There are allegations that some Sudanese aircraft have been painted with UN or AU colours and are used in Darfur. Such acts – among others – undermine the UN and AU, create the impression of collusion and can encourage attacks against them.”

The ICC is an independent, permanent court that investigates and prosecutes individuals accused of the most serious crimes of international concerns, such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Prosecutors at the Court are currently probing four situations: Darfur, northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR).

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