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Goff calls for action over UN findings on Darfur

Hon Phil Goff: Goff calls for action over UN findings on Darfur

Tue, 8 Feb 2005

Goff calls for action over UN findings on Darfur

The United Nations Security Council must act swiftly on the findings of the United Nations International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, says Foreign Minister Phil Goff

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Foreign Minister Phil Goff is urging the United Nations Security Council to act swiftly on the findings of the United Nations International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur.

The inquiry found that while all parties to the conflict shared blame for it, the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed militia group were responsible for serious human rights violations in Darfur.

"The commission has found that government forces and militias conducted widespread and systematic attacks resulting in the killing of civilians, and torture and rape throughout Darfur," Mr Goff said.

"While the inquiry concluded that the Sudanese government has not pursued a policy of genocide in Darfur, it says that 'no less serious and heinous crimes had been committed'. It found that troops and militia under the Sudanese government's control have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.

"New Zealand strongly supports the commission's recommendation that the United Nations Security Council should immediately refer the matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"The Court has been set up for the purposes of dealing with such crimes and can, and should, be immediately activated.

"Sudan is not a party to the ICC Treaty, so the only way that the Court can consider cases relating to Darfur is if the matter is referred to it by the Security Council - a course of action that is provided for in the Treaty.

"The perpetrators must be held individually responsible for their actions and brought to justice. Unless this happens, we can add Darfur to the long list of unpunished international crimes. Those responsible will continue to believe they can carry out such crimes with impunity.

"The Security Council must also urgently renew its efforts to address the continuing appalling situation on the ground in Darfur. Two million people remain displaced; many are dying, and there is still violence, rape, bombing and pillaging.

"The responsibility rests with members of the Security Council, working with the African Union, to pursue all necessary measures to end crimes against humanity and promote peace negotiations," Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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