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World Leaders Urged To Help Stop Darfur War Crimes

ICC Prosecutor Urges World Leaders To Help Stop Darfur War Crimes

New York, Sep 22 2008 2:10PM

The International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor is in New York today to urge international leaders to better protect civilians in Darfur and allow the court to successfully prosecute crimes committed in the war-torn Sudanese region.

The visit by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the ICC Prosecutor, comes two months after he requested an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for allegedly committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide over the last five years in Darfur.

“We presented a solid case. The evidence shows that crimes against Darfurians continue today,” Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said.

“[Mr.] al-Bashir has complete control of his forces, and they are raping women today, they are promoting conditions in the camps to destroy complete communities and they are still bombing schools,” he added.

The ICC pre-trial chamber is reviewing the evidence submitted by prosecutors to determine if there are reasonable grounds to believe the Sudanese President committed the alleged crimes and issue the arrest warrant.

“The judges will decide. Those sought by the court have to face justice,” Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said referring to his request for the arrest warrant. “Between criminals and 2.5 million victims, they should make the right decision.”

“It is an immense challenge for the political leaders of the world. They have to protect the victims and ensure the respect for the court’s decisions,” the ICC Prosecutor added ahead of the General Assembly annual high-level debate, which starts tomorrow.

The prosecutor has also requested information from the Sudanese Government about the August attack on the Kalma camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs), where evidence suggests Sudanese Government forces killed at least 31 civilians while executing a search warrant for illegal weapons and drugs.

A third ICC Prosecutor’s investigation coming to completion is focusing on crimes committed by Government rebels, in particular the attack on African Union (AU) peacekeepers in September last year in Haskanita.

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo “will be meeting senior United Nations officials and expressing his appreciation of the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s staunch support for the independence of the international judiciary,” a spokesperson for the prosecutor told the UN News Centre.

The high-level officials meeting with the prosecutor on this visit include Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani, who chairs the Ministerial Committee aimed at furthering peace efforts in Darfur.

Others meeting with Mr. Moreno-Ocampo include AU Chairperson Jean Ping, British Minister of State responsible for Africa, Asia and the UN Mark Malloch Brown, French Minister of State for Human Rights Ramatoulaye Yade-Zimet and Netherlands Foreign Minister Maxime Jacques Marcel Verhagen.

Some 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed across Darfur, an impoverished and arid region of western Sudan, as a result of direct combat, disease or malnutrition since 2003. Another 2.7 million people have been displaced because of fighting between rebels, Government forces and allied militiamen known as the Janjaweed.

ENDS

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