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Ten on trial in Sudan special court for Darfur atrocities

[JURIST] Ten men have gone to trial so far in Sudan [JURIST news archive] on charges of rape and robbery in the troubled Darfur region [BBC backgrounder], according to the head of Sudan's special court [JURIST report], which began proceedings last Saturday. The Sudanese court was formed by the national Sudanese government after the UN Security Council asked the International Criminal Court [official website] to investigate alleged war crimes in Darfur; the government refuses to have suspects tried abroad. The formation of the special court will be a substitute for the ICC, according to Sudan, as all suspects cannot be tried by the ICC. The UN appointed inquiry commission [UN report on Darfur, PDF text] does not believe that the Sudanese judiciary can handle the case, but the head of the court, Mahmoud Mohamed Saeed Abkam, announced that he will resign from the court should there be any Sudanese governmental interference. The men on trial so far are minor criminals, but the court should eventually move on to the prosecution of more senior officials. Reuters has more.

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