ICC prosecutor says Sudan blocks genocide inquiry

UNITED NATIONS- The International Criminal Court chief prosecutor on Thursday accused Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir of deliberately protecting those commiting genocide in Darfur.
Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the UN Security Council that Sudan had shown no sign of cooperating with the UN court's war crimes investigation into the president and that Darfur is "an ongoing genocide".

President Omar al-Bashir
President Omar al-Bashir
"Since 2005, Sudanese authorities have consistently promised to do justice, creating mechanisms such as special courts and prosecutors, while consistently and deliberately protecting those who commit the crimes," Ocampo told a special meeting on the Darfur conflict.
Bashir "issued the criminal orders to attack civilians and destroy their communities. President al-Bashir does not want to investigate those who are following his orders," the prosecutor added.
Western powers have raised new concerns in recent months about the Darfur conflict where the UN says at least 300,000 people have died since rebel groups took up arms against Bashir's Arab-dominated government in 2003.
Bashir was first charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity by the ICC in 2009 and the court added three genocide charges in July this year.
The African Union has called for the investigation of Bashir to be suspended, particularly during the tense self-determination referendum in southern Sudan in January. Western nations have resisted the calls, however.
"The situation in Darfur is not just a humanitarian crisis, it is a systematic attack against the civilian population. The situation in Darfur is a genocide, it is an ongoing genocide," Ocampo said.
The prosecutor said hundreds more civilians have been killed and thousands displaced in the western Sudan region in the last six months.
The people of Darfur "are suffering a subtle form of genocide -- genocide of rape and fear. Rape and fear are a silent weapon, below the radar of the peacekeepers, unstoppable for the humanitarian organizations, and this continues," Ocampo said.

Friday, December 10th 2010

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