The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court urged the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday to accelerate action to help deliver justice for thousands of people in Sudan´s western Darfur region, which was wracked by bloodshed in 2003.
Karim Khan said in a virtual briefing from the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, that his just- concluded visit to Darfur reinforced his resolve to press for a greater focus and more resources to arrest and bring to trial alleged ringleaders of the violence.
"The simple truth is that the nightmare for thousands of Darfuris has not ended," he said. "And that nightmare of their experiences in large part continues because meaningful justice and accountability has not been felt in the manner that is required, or in my respectful view was anticipated by the council in 2005," when it referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC.
Khan said that the people of Darfur "are tired of promises" and that "this is the time to move forward."
The vast Darfur region was engulfed in bloodshed in 2003 when rebels from the territory´s ethnic central and sub-Saharan African community launched an insurgency accusing the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum of discrimination and neglect.
In a first-ever briefing to the Security Council by an ICC prosecutor from a country where the court is pursuing justice, Khan said council members should consider visiting Sudan to hear from survivors who still live in refugee camps and still have hopes of seeing those sought by the court prosecuted.
In April, the first ICC trial to deal with atrocities by Sudanese government-backed forces in Darfur began in The Hague, Netherlands. The defendant, Janjaweed leader Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, also known as Ali Kushayb, pleaded innocent to all 31 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Khan said the prosecution´s case is expected to conclude early next year.
In his report to the council circulated Tuesday, Khan welcomed and acknowledged recent government steps, including the provision of some multiple-entry visas and support with a limited number of requests for assistance.