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Grounds to believe Sudan's warring sides are committing crimes in Darfur - ICC

Karim Khan, Prosecutor of International Criminal Court, addresses a Security Council meeting on the situation in Sudan, Thursday, July 13, 2023, at United Nations headquarters   -  
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Mary Altaffer/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


Nearly 10 months after war erupted in Sudan, reports of alleged crimes continue to emerge.

The International Criminal Court prosecutor said Monday (Jan.29) there are grounds to believe both Sudan’s armed forces and paramilitary rivals commit atrocities in the Darfur region.

Karim Khan addressed the UN security council gathered in New York from Chad's capital.

"Madam president, excellencies, based on the work of my office. It's my clear finding, my clear assessment, there are grounds to believe that presently Rome statute crimes are being committed in Darfur by both the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces and affiliated groups."

The Rome Statute established the ICC in 2002 to investigate the world’s worst atrocities — war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide — and the crime of aggression.

Darfur, which was wracked by bloodshed and atrocities in 2003, has been an epicenter of the current conflict, an arena of ethnic violence where paramilitary troops and allied Arab militias have been attacking non-Arab ethnic groups.

Up to 15,000 people killed in Darfur

The city of Al Geneina in the West Darfour region has become a symbol of the terrible suffering the war has created.

"As reflected in my report to the Council the alleged atrocities that have taken place in El Geanina form a central line of investigations that my office is pursuing at this current moment. And I can confirm to the council that we are collecting a very significant body of material - information and evidence that is relevant to those particular crimes."

10,000 to 15,000 people from non-Arab communities are believed to have been killed in the West Darfur region last year by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and allied Arab militia.

A report on the matter by a UN panel was circulated in the press last week.

In 2005, the Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC, and prosecutor Khan has said the court still has a mandate under that resolution to investigate crimes in the vast region.

Khan highlighted, “The failure of the international community to execute the warrants that have been issued by independent judges of the ICC has invigorated a climate of impunity and the outbreak of violence that commenced in April and continues today.”

"I visited and met 70 Darfuris in London two weeks ago that are also very active in this space. To hear those accounts, the whole community has been uprooted and targeted for many years and they really are concerned that the world is asleep to their suffering. That's what they feel. That's what they conveyed. They thought they were small, too Invisible, too unimportant, too poor to be a real matter of concern to the ICC and also the international community."

A recent IGAD summit urged the warring leaders general Al Burhan and General Hamdane Daglo to agree to a ceasefire and hold a face-to-face meeting.

The fighting has displaced over 7 million people and killed thousands.

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