Sudan Officials Implicated in Attacks

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By Nora Boustany
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, June 5, 2008

The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court has implicated top Sudanese officials in recent attacks, including killings and rapes, against civilians in the Darfur region of western Sudan, and will present their names and evidence against them to the court in July.

The prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is scheduled to deliver a report on his investigation to the U.N. Security Council today.

"Women and girls are raped. Victims are as young as five or six years old. Parents are forced to watch," he said in his report. "This is not an incidental byproduct of war. It is a calculated crime, intended to do irreparable damage to communities."

The five-year-old conflict in Darfur has left as many as 450,000 dead and 2.5 million displaced, though the government says those numbers are exaggerated. Human rights groups say the government has armed a militia, the Janjaweed, which is accused of committing atrocities against civilians.

In Khartoum, the capital, Sudan's ambassador to the United Nations, Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem Mohamed, called Moreno-Ocampo's allegations "fictitious and vicious."

In an interview, Moreno-Ocampo said Ahmad Harun, Sudan's minister of state for humanitarian affairs, and Ali Kushayb, a Janjaweed commander, remain at large despite arrest warrants issued by the court more than a year ago. Both men are accused of war crimes.

"Impunity is not an abstract notion. It is not what will happen. It is happening," he said.

Moreno-Ocampo said Harun was responsible for the detention, torture and killing of Darfur community leaders in refugee camps. Harun is helping supervise a census in South Darfur, he said, adding that "census-related arrests and killing have been reported, including while his people were engaged in the census."

The report noted that Harun was part of a monitoring mechanism for the deployment of a hybrid U.N. and African Union peacekeeping force.

Moreno-Ocampo suggested there was "a calculated effort to make access difficult and to perpetrate the suffering of the displaced." He drew a parallel to the strategy of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic in 1995 to "create an unbearable situation of total insecurity with no hope of further survival or life for the inhabitants of Srebrenica."

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