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IC Seeks Info On Arrest Warrants For Darfur Rebels

International Court Seeks More Information On Arrest Warrants For Darfur Rebels

The pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today has asked prosecutors to submit additional information regarding their request for arrest warrants for three rebel commanders for their role in last year’s deadly attack against peacekeepers in the war-ravaged Sudanese region of Darfur.

Some 1,000 rebels attacked the Haskanita camp in South Darfur state on 29 September 2007, killing 12 peacekeepers serving with the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) – a predecessor to the joint UN-AU peacekeeping mission, known as UNAMID– and wounding eight others.

Last month, ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo presented evidence against the unnamed three commanders, who “planned, led their troops and directed the attack… and completely destroyed AMIS facilities and property, directly affecting aid and security for millions of people of Darfur who are in need of protection.”

The Prosecution said that there are reasonable grounds to believe the three commanders bear criminal responsibility for three counts of war crimes for murder, intentionally directing attacks against personnel and objects involved in a peacekeeping mission and pillaging.

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 among rebels, Government forces and the allied Janjaweed militia.

This is the third case arising from the situation in Darfur, which was referred to The Hague-based Court by the Security Council in 2005.

The pre-trial chamber issued arrest warrants in May 2007 for Ahmad Harun, former Sudanese Minister of State for the Interior and now the Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, and Ali Kushayb, a Janjaweed leader.

The ICC is also examining the Prosecutor’s application filed in July for an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for alleged war crimes, including genocide, in Darfur.

Last month, Mr. Ocampo told the Security Council that it must take concerted action to enforce any warrant against Mr. al-Bashir.

“Genocide continues. Rapes in and around the [internally displaced persons’] camps continue. Humanitarian assistance is still hindered. More than 5,000 displaced persons die each month,” ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said, adding that the international community cannot conceal the President’s crimes.

ENDS

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