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ICC Prosecutor appeals for evidence of Darfur atrocities

Children shelter in the shade in Tambasi centre in El Fasher, North Darfur.
© UNICEF/Mohamed Zakaria
Children shelter in the shade in Tambasi centre in El Fasher, North Darfur.

ICC Prosecutor appeals for evidence of Darfur atrocities

Law and Crime Prevention

The Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) launched a campaign on Tuesday to address the unfolding crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan, amid the going war between rival military forces that erupted last April. 

In a video posted on social media, Karim Khan urged victim groups, civil society organizations, national authorities, and international partners to engage with his Office and provide any evidence and material relating to the ongoing atrocities being inflicted on civilians.

The ICC has an ongoing active investigation into the situation in Darfur, which began in 2005, and “the terrible events in West Darfur, including El Geneina, in 2023” are among key investigative priorities. 

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Organized systematic attack 

Mr. Khan voiced extreme concern about allegations of widespread international crimes being committed in El Fasher, capital of North Darfur state, and surrounding areas. 

His Office is compiling information on a daily basis from Darfur which “seems to disclose an organized, systematic and a profound attack on human dignity”, he said.

Evidence collected to date “seems to show credible, repeated expanding continuous allegations of attacks against the civilian population, in particular, attacks directed against camps for internally displaced persons,” he continued. 

“It seems to show the widespread, prevalent use of rape and other forms of sexual violence.  It seems to disclose consistently the shelling of civilian areas, the looting of properties and attacks against hospitals.” 

Appeal for evidence 

Mr. Khan said his Office is, in particular, calling for any video, photographic or audio material that those on the ground have been able to capture, to support the investigation. 

He also appealed to civil society, partners and individuals to share any contacts who may be able to provide testimony, information or evidence. 

“And we’re asking national authority counterparts, State parties and non-State parties alike, to share any evidence, any information that they're collecting, or that they have collected will have available to them in relation to these profound allegations of international crimes that are increasingly emerging and cannot be ignored,” he said. 

Humanitarian efforts continue 

Humanitarians continue to deliver life-saving assistance to people in need amid escalating violence in El Fasher, UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq said on Tuesday in New York.

He told journalists that the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has received harrowing reports that at least six children have been killed, and many more injured, since Friday. 

“Thousands of children, including those living in large displacement camps, are trapped in the middle of the increased fighting and are not able to reach safety,” he said. 

“UNICEF urges all parties to immediately deescalate the situation, allow the safe and voluntary movement of civilians, and ensure the protection of civilians, including children and women, and civilian objects.” 

Aid worker killed

The ongoing clashes in and around El Fasher are taking a grim toll on humanitarian workers and operations, highlighting the need for greater protection.

Mr. Haq said a staff member with the non-governmental organization (NGO) Relief International in Darfur died on Monday due to complications from a bullet wound sustained on 1 June.  

The aid worker was shot while returning to the Zamzam displacement camp, after transporting a patient to El Fasher Maternity Hospital.  

Distributing desperately needed supplies 

Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) reported that three trucks carrying core relief items have reached North Darfur via the Tine crossing with Chad. The supplies are being distributed to more than 1,100 families in two locations near the border. 

Elsewhere in Sudan, the World Health Organization (WHO) distributed nearly 20 metric tonnes of emergency health supplies to 18 health facilities and five stabilization centres in North Kordofan state.

“This vital assistance will meet the emergency and primary healthcare needs of displaced people and host communities. WHO has also managed to reach South Kordofan’s Abu Jubayhah Region for the first time this year to deliver emergency health supplies,” Mr. Haq said.

He noted, however, that a $2.7 billion humanitarian appeal for Sudan is just 16 per cent funded, with less than $441 million received to date.