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Int Criminal Court Opens Investigation Into Darfur

INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT OPENS INVESTIGATION INTO DARFUR

New York, Jun 6 2005 1:00PM

The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has decided to open an investigation into the situation in Darfur, Sudan, following the United Nations Security Council’s referral of 51 names of people blamed for war crimes in the conflict between the Khartoum Government, allied militia and rebels in the region.

In a press release, ICC Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, said that he concluded that the statutory requirements for initiating an investigation were satisfied after analyzing thousands of documents and interviewing over 50 independent experts.

He adds that the investigation will be impartial and independent, and will focus on the individuals who bear the greatest responsibility for crimes committee in Darfur.

In February, a UN inquiry into whether genocide occurred in Darfur – a region located on Sudan's western flank and about the size of France -- found the Government responsible for crimes under international law and strongly recommended referring the dossier to the ICC.

The probe also found credible evidence that rebel forces were responsible for possible war crimes, including murder of civilians and pillage. The Security Council referred the matter to the ICC on 31 March 2005.

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo called on all partners to provide his office with the information, evidence and practical support needed to carry out his mandate.

“The investigation will require sustained cooperation from national and international authorities,” Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said in the press release.

“It will form part of a collective effot, complementing African Union and other initiatives to end the violence in Darfur and to promote justice.” Fighting in Darfur, flared in early 2003 after rebels took up arms, partly in protest over the distribution of resources. The UN says some 180,000 people have died as a result of the conflict, while another 1.8 million have been forced from their homes, including about 200,000 who fled across the border to neighbouring Chad.

2005-06-06 00:00:00.000

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