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Sudan court for Darfur war crimes delayed

[JURIST] The opening of the Sudanese domestic tribunal created [JURIST report] to try 160 alleged Darfur war criminals [Wikipedia backgrounder] that was originally set for Tuesday [JURIST report] has now been delayed until Wednesday, according to court chairman Mahmud Saeed Abkem. No reasons were given for the delay but Abkem said the hearings would be "public and open." Sudan Justice Minister Ali Mohammed Yassin said Monday that the tribunal would replace the efforts of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] in The Hague, which has begun its own investigation [press release] into the crimes, and Sudan President Omar al-Bashir [Wikipedia profile] has promised to keep any Sudanese citizen from international prosecution. However, Jan Pronk [biography], special Sudan representative for UN Secretary Kofi Annan [official biography], has insisted the Sudan tribunal will not circumvent the ICC. Sudan's two rebel groups - the Sudan Liberation Movement [official website] and the Justice and Equality Movement [official website] - continue to criticize the tribunal, saying it is not qualified to handle the charges. Amnesty International jas said the tribunal "lacks credibility" [press release] and "may just be a tactic by the Sudanese government to avoid prosecution before the ICC." AFP has more.

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