Sudan detains 14 for Darfur abuse

Sudanese authorities have detained 14 people on suspicion of crimes - including rape and murder - committed in the war-wracked western region of Darfur.

    Security forces and militias have been accused of systematic rape

    According to Justice Minister Ali Muhammad Usman Yasin on Monday, the detainees were mostly from the army, security and police forces in South Darfur and not from the numerous Janjawid militias blamed for many of the abuses in the region.
    "They are accused of rape, arson and other crimes and will go on trial very soon," Yasin said, adding that he was unsure of the precise date of their arrests.
    Official media announced on Sunday that Sudan planned to try at least 164 suspects for Darfur crimes - 14 of them in South Darfur and 150 in North Darfur.
    But Yasin took issue with the latter figure. "That report was inaccurate, because, while 14 people have indeed been arrested in South Darfur, the 150 people in North Darfur have not been arrested or charged but are merely witnesses in various cases unconnected to the crimes in Darfur," the minister said. 
    International court

    The announcement of the arrests comes as the UN Security Council prepares to debate a French draft resolution that would refer 51 suspects identified by a UN probe for trial on war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
    Khartoum is strongly opposed to the draft, insisting that it is a sovereign nation and that prosecutions for offences on its territory should be through the Sudanese courts.
    Following the launch of an uprising in Darfur two years ago, numerous nomadic tribes have pursued a scorched earth policy that has prompted a host of allegations against army, police and militia commanders, including systematic use of rape as a weapon.



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