Sudan not cooperating on arrests of war crimes suspects, says prosecutor

28 August 2007 – The Sudanese Government has not moved to arrest two suspects wanted to stand trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s war-wracked Darfur region, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) said today, calling on Khartoum to cooperate immediately with the court.

In an interview with the UN News Centre, Luis Moreno-Ocampo said that it is “totally unacceptable” that one of the two suspects, Ahmad Muhammad Harun, is currently Sudan’s Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs.

“He was coordinating actions to remove people from their own villages and push them into IDP [internally displaced person] camps, and now he… basically controls them,” Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said. “Harun is still in charge, effectively, of the same people. He is like the fox being in charge of the chickens.”

Unless the Government takes steps to arrest Mr. Harun and the other suspect, Janjaweed militia leader Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman (also known as Ali Kushayb), Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said he would inform the Security Council in his next progress report.

He said there had been no progress from Khartoum since it was informed of the arrests and its responsibilities.

“They have to remember, Sudan, that this issue is a part of their duties now that we have these global legal standards” enshrined in the ICC, said the Prosecutor. “The responsibility to execute the warrant is for the Government of Sudan,” and not for him or the ICC or the Security Council.

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said his staff were trying to monitor the movements of the two suspects to determine their whereabouts, particularly now that an Interpol red notice – which allows the warrant to be circulated around the world with the request that the wanted person is arrested with a view to extradition – has been issued for Mr. Harun.

Mr. Harun and Mr. Kushayb are accused of targeting civilians in attacks on four villages in West Darfur between August 2003 and March 2004, according to their warrants, which outlines multiple counts of personal responsibility for murder, rape and pillaging for each man.

The ICC Prosecutor has been investigating war crimes committed in Darfur amid increasing international efforts to stop the bloodshed in the impoverished region and provide justice to victims of the violence and human rights violations.

More than 200,000 people have been killed and at least two million others forced to leave their homes in Darfur since 2003 because of fighting between rebel groups, Government forces and allied Janjaweed militias.

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo, who is in New York this week, held talks today on Darfur and other issues, including the progress of cases in northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR), with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

He also spoke on the same issues, and the need for greater cooperation between the UN and the ICC, with Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Affairs Jean-Marie Guéhenno, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide Francis Deng and the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Margareta Wahlström.

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo is also taking part this week in a conference for current and past prosecutors of international criminal tribunals being held in Chautauqua, New York.

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