Murder and torture

Moreno-Ocampo said the crimes included persecution, torture, rape and murder.

"The victims have a right to peace, security and justice"

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, ICC chief prosecutor

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The UN, Sudan and the African Union (AU), which has fielded a 7,000-member force, agreed in principle in Addis Ababa last week to strengthen an AU force with extensive UN support.

 

Sudan had previously ruled out a large role for the UN in Darfur.

 

Before the prosecution submits any evidence to ICC judges, the office of the prosecutor will assess whether Sudan's government is conducting its own judicial proceedings on the same incidents and persons.

 

Under the treaty that set up the ICC in 2002, the Hague-based court cannot prosecute suspects who have already been tried in fair trials in their home countries.

 

"I plan to have collected this information by the beginning of December," Moreno-Ocampo said.

 

ICC intervention

 

Human Rights Watch, a US-based organisation, has claimed that Khartoum set up the court to head off the ICC investigation and tried just 13 criminal cases unconnected to Darfur since the court was formed in June 2005.

 

The ICC was set up as the first permanent global war crimes court to try individuals and issued its first warrants last year for leaders of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), who have led 20 years of war.

 

The LRA signed a truce with the government but has repeatedly said it will not sign a final peace deal unless the ICC indictments against its leaders are dropped.

 

The Ugandan government has reiterated that it understood its obligations and declared that the arrest of LRA commanders would "prevent recurrent violence and provide justice to the victims," said Moreno-Ocampo.

 

"The victims have a right to peace, security and justice," he said.