Legal action on Darfur crimes urged

International Criminal Court to investigate Sudan officials for "continuing crimes".

    Moreno-Ocampo has been warned by Sudan that he may be threatening peace prospects in Darfur [AP]
    "Sudan, a UN member state, has not complied with its obligation under (2005) Security Council Resolution 1593 to arrest and surrender indictees," the prosecutor said, urging the 15-member council "to act and put an end to this pattern of non-cooperation".

    Moreno-Ocampo said one of the indictees, Ahmad Haroun, a former state minister of the interior, was not only free but had even been promoted to a position overseeing aid in which he was part of an ongoing "calculated, organised campaign" of abuse against 2.5 million displaced Darfuris in camps.

    He said: "All information points not to chaotic and isolated acts but to a pattern of attacks."

    Camp attacks

    Moreno-Ocampo, who launched his investigation in 2005 at the request of the Security Council, said violence in 2003-2004 was "the first phase of the criminal plan co-ordinated by Ahmad Haroun", with millions forced from their villages into camps.

    The UN has authorised the deployment of more
    than 20,000 UN and AU troops in Darfur [EPA]

    He said: "In the second phase, happening right now in front of our eyes, the victims are attacked in the camps.

    "Ahmad Haroun is a key actor. But he is not alone."

    Moreno-Ocampo said the failure to arrest him was a clear indication of the support he had from other high Sudan government officials.

    He said: "My office will proceed to investigate who is bearing the greatest responsibility for ongoing attacks against civilians; who is maintaining Haroun in a position to commit crimes; who is instructing him."

    Sudan's response

    For Sudan's part, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem, the country's UN ambassador, accused Moreno-Ocampo of "moral and professional bankruptcy", denounced his report as "the mother of all fabrications" and said the prosecutor had become politicised.

    "There's no way we're going to surrender our citizens to the ICC," he said outside the council at the UN headquarters in New York City.

    "If there are any accusations against our people, the Sudanese judiciary is more than capable of doing that."

    Abdalhaleem said Moreno-Ocampo's work would interfere with a road map for peace in Darfur, which includes the deployment of UN-AU peacekeepers and humanitarian support.

    "We caution against allowing him to spoil this road map and to spoil the peace process in Sudan," Abdalhaleem said.

    Attack on peacekeepers

    Earlier, Moreno-Ocampo said he would also open a case investigating attacks on humanitarian workers and peacekeepers in Darfur, including one that killed 10 AU peacekeepers in the eastern Darfur town of Haskanita in September.

    He issued indictments in February for Haroun and Ali Kushayb, a leader of the Janjawid militias, for their roles in mass executions, rapes and forcible evictions.

    "I ask the Security Council for consistency," Moreno-Ocampo said, asking it to send "a strong and unanimous message" to Khartoum.

    In practice, the council is unlikely to do more than issue a statement urging co-operation, and even that will be complicated by support for Sudan from its close ally China, as well as some others on the council such as Qatar.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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