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Security Council does too little on Darfur genocide suspects-ICC

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Thu, 13 Dec 2012 15:00 GMT
Author: Reuters
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* Council must do more to bring perpetrators to justice

* 'Sudan government not prepared to hand over suspects'

By Thomas Escritt

AMSTERDAM, Dec 13 (Reuters) - The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court accused the United Nations Security Council on Thursday of doing too little to bring Sudanese genocide suspects to justice.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant against Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir for genocide more than four years ago, but he remains at large.

Interior Minister Ahmed Haroun and Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb, both indicted for war crimes allegedly committed during attempts to put down the decade-long uprising in the Darfur region of western Sudan, also remain at large.

Addressing the Security Council in New York, Fatou Bensouda, the court's prosecutor, said similar crimes continued to be committed in Darfur.

She said her team had identified an "ongoing pattern of crimes committed pursuant to the government-avowed goal of stopping the rebellion in Darfur", including attacks on civilian populations and United Nations peacekeepers as well as attempts to thwart the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The Security Council needed to do more to help bring alleged perpetrators to justice, she said in a speech, a copy of which was released in the Netherlands.

"How many more civilians must be killed, injured and displaced for this council to be spurred into doing its part?" she asked.

The Security Council asked the Hague-based court to investigate the crisis in Darfur in 2005. The court has since issued arrest warrants for five suspects.

Three other suspects appeared voluntarily before the court, and charges against one of them were dismissed.

The court relies on cooperation from national governments to ensure suspects appear at its headquarters in The Hague and, in this case, Bensouda said, that cooperation had been lacking.

"It should be clear to this council that the government of Sudan is neither prepared to hand over the suspects nor to prosecute them for their crimes," she said.

In March this year, the court indicted Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein, Sudan's defence minister, for crimes against humanity and war crimes including murder, rape and torture.

Human rights groups estimate hundreds of thousands of people have died over the course of the decade-long Darfur rebellion, which began in 2003 when mostly non-Arab insurgents took up arms against the central government.

The Sudanese government's counter-insurgency measures, involving government troops and allied militias, unleashed a wave of violence. (Reporting by Thomas Escritt; editing by Robert Woodward)

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