Sudan to try Darfur crimes suspects

Sudan is to try 164 suspects, some of them government officials, for abuses including rape and murder in the war-wracked western region of Darfur.

    Foreign Minister Ismail wants to limit UN involvement in any trials

    The announcement came as the UN Security Council prepared to debate a French draft resolution referring 51 suspects identified by a UN investigation for trial on war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
      
    The state Suna news agency said charges had already been pressed against the 164 by a government-appointment judicial commission of inquiry.
      
    Government officials indicted

    "All those suspects, including some government officials, will be sent to the judiciary to stand fair trials," the panel's chairman Muhammad Abd al-Rahim Ali, a high court judge, told Suna in the North Darfur state capital of al-Fashir. 
      

    "All those suspects, including some government officials, will be sent to the judiciary to stand fair trials"

    Muhammad Abd al-Rahim Ali, high court judge

    He said 150 of the cases involved alleged offences in North Darfur, and the other 14 accusations from South Darfur. 
      
    Ali's commission said it would continue receiving and investigating complaints of abuses "without a time limit."
      
    The announcement appeared to be an attempt to preempt any move by the UN Security Council to order overseas trials for Darfur war crimes suspects, which Khartoum bitterly opposes.
      
    Rejecting overseas trials

    "This proposal is unacceptable and we are going to confront it through dialogue," Foreign Minister Mustafa Usman Ismail said of the latest french draft.
      
    Khartoum insists it is a sovereign nation and that prosecutions for offences on its territory should be through the Sudanese courts. 
      
    After the launch of an ethnic minority uprising in Darfur two years ago, the government unleashed Arab militias in a scorched earth campaign that prompted a host of allegations against army, police and militia commanders, including systematic use of rape as a weapon.

    SOURCE: AFP


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