[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan [official profile] said Monday that Sudanese trade embargoes in the volatile Darfur region [JURIST news archive] "have prevented the access of civilians to vital goods and constitute a violation of international humanitarian law." In a report Monday to the UN Security Council [official website], Annan said that government-imposed restrictions effectively prevent civilians in Darfur from receiving necessary fuel, food and relief aid. Annan's periodic report, not yet available publicly, was submitted to the Security Council pursuant to Resolution 1590 [text] and covers March and April, but Annan also indicated that a peace deal between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudanese Liberation Army signed on May 5 has not helped the citizens of Darfur, despite contrary claims [EastAfrican report] from Sudanese officials. Annan's report comes shortly after Jan Egeland, the UN's top humanitarian official, warned [Reuters report] that existing relief efforts may soon break down unless the May 5 peace deal begins to take hold because of a hundred million dollar shortfall in aid.
Annan also blamed the Sudanese government [official website] for the large scale human rights violations occurring in Darfur because the government has failed to punish [JURIST report] top state officials and armed leaders who attack civilians, despite Sudan's use of its own investigation system and domestic tribunal for Darfur. The International Criminal Court [official website] is investigating the Darfur situation [ICC materials], but Sudanese officials have strongly opposed sending its citizens to a foreign court for trial. AP has more.