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

4 April 2005

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expected to transmit to the International Criminal Court (ICC) tomorrow a sealed list of 51 names of people blamed for war crimes and crimes under international law in the conflict between the Sudanese Government, allied militia and rebels in the country's Darfur region.

The handing over of the list to ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo at UN Headquarters in New York follows last Thursday's Security Council's vote to refer the matter to the tribunal as recommended by the UN-appointed International Commission of Inquiry into whether genocide had occurred in the fighting.

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.

In its report the five-member Commission found that while the Government had not pursued a policy of genocide, Government forces and militias "conducted indiscriminate attacks, including killing of civilians, torture, enforced disappearances, destruction of villages, rape and other forms of sexual violence, pillaging and forced displacement."

It also said there was credible evidence that rebel forces were responsible for possible war crimes, including murder of civilians and pillage, although it did not find a systematic or a widespread pattern.

The conclusion that no genocidal policy had been pursued should not be taken in any way as detracting from the gravity of the crimes perpetrated, the Commission said. "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," it added. But the crucial element of genocidal intent appeared to be missing, at least as far as the central Government authorities are concerned.


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