those responsible for darfur crimes must be held accountable, Secretary-General
says as he transmits commission of inquiry report to Security Council
Following is the statement of Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur issued today in New York:
Yesterday, 31 January, I transmitted to the President of the Security Council the report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur. I have also released the text to the public.
The Commission has established that the Government of Sudan and the Janjaweed are responsible for crimes under international law. It also found that attacks on villages, killing of civilians, rape, pillaging and forced displacement have continued even while it was conducting its inquiry. Its most important recommendation, to which I hope the Security Council will give immediate and very serious attention, is that “action must be taken urgently to end these violations”. As I said in Abuja on Sunday, I believe that sanctions should still be on the table.
The Commission found credible evidence that rebel forces, too, are responsible for serious violations which may amount to war crimes, including murder of civilians and pillage.
The Commission concluded that the Government of Sudan “has not pursued a policy of genocide”, although “in some instances individuals, including Government officials, may commit acts with genocidal intent” and only a competent court can decide, on a case-by-case basis, whether this was the case in Darfur. The report adds, however, that “the crimes against humanity and war crimes that have been committed in Darfur may be no less serious and heinous than genocide”.
The Commission has given me a sealed file of names of people it believes are responsible for serious violations, including crimes against humanity and war crimes. It recommends that this file be handed over to a competent Prosecutor, and it strongly recommends that the Security Council immediately refer the situation of Darfur to the International Criminal Court.
My own support for the ICC is well known. But this is a decision for the Security Council, not for me. What is vital is that these people are indeed held accountable. Such grave crimes cannot be committed with impunity. That would be a terrible betrayal of the victims, and of potential future victims in Darfur and elsewhere.
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