International Criminal Court to name Darfur war crimes suspects next week: UN
The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) chief prosecutor will next Tuesday name the first suspects accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s strife-torn Darfur region, a United Nations spokesperson said today.
The Security Council referred the Darfur issue, along with the names of 51 suspected perpetrators, to the ICC in March 2005, after a UN inquiry into whether genocide occurred in Darfur found the Government responsible for crimes under international law and strongly recommended referring the dossier to the court.
“The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced earlier today that on…February 27th, Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo will submit evidence to the Court’s Pre-Trial Chamber in connection with individuals suspected of having committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur,” spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters in New York.
Speaking in December to the Council, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said that his first case will focus on a series of incidents in 2003 and 2004, when conflict emerged in Darfur as Government forces and allied militia clashed with rebel groups seeking greater autonomy.
The UN inquiry also found credible evidence that rebel forces were responsible for possible war crimes, including the murder of civilians and pillage.
Today’s announcement comes amid increasing international efforts to stop the bloodshed in Darfur, where more than 200,000 people have been killed and at least 2 million others forced to flee their homes since 2003. In total, some 4 million civilians need assistance to survive in the region, which is roughly the size of France and situated in the west of Sudan.
Speaking to reporters in Austria earlier today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon outlined recent UN peace initiatives, including a letter he sent on 24 January to Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al Bashir stressing the importance of more support for the African Union mission and also the need for the rapid deployment of a hybrid UN-African Union force to the region.
Killings are reported everyday throughout Darfur and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today that last month alone violence had forced around 46,000 more people to flee their homes.