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ICC prosecutor says Darfur case ready by February

[JURIST] Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile], chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court [official website], told the UN Security Council Thursday that his investigation [ICC materials] into crimes committed in Darfur [JURIST news archive] is almost complete, noting that he is "preparing to submit evidence to the ICC judges no later than February 2007." Moreno-Ocampo submitted a report [PDF text] to the Security Council pursuant to Resolution 1593 [PDF text] and briefed the council on his progress [press release]:

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo informed the United Nations Security Council that he has nearly completed an investigation into some of the worst crimes committed in Darfur. He is preparing to submit evidence to the ICC judges no later than February 2007 and is putting measures in place to protect victims and witnesses.

The evidence in this emerging first case points to specific individuals who appear to bear the greatest responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity including persecution, torture, murder, and rape. ...

The Prosecutor's first case focuses on a series of incidents in 2003 and 2004, when the most serious crimes occurred in large numbers. Perhaps most significant, the evidence reveals the underlying operational system that enabled the commission of these massive crimes.

The evidence comes from a wide range of sources and reflects a thorough, independent, and impartial review of incriminating and exonerating circumstances. Sources include statements from victims as well as Sudanese officials, documents provided by the Government of the Sudan and the National Commission of Inquiry, thousands of documents collected by the International Commission of Inquiry, and materials generated by the Security Council, states, and international organisations.
Under the ICC's Rome Statute [PDF text], the ICC can only prosecute individuals for war crimes, genocide or crimes against humanity when a state is unwilling or unable to genuinely prosecute.

The Sudanese government provided Moreno-Ocampo with an update on its national investigations in November, reporting that there have been 14 arrests for "violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses." Moreno-Ocampo said, however, that these arrests do not render his case inadmissible because he is pursuing charges against different individuals. AP has more. The UN News Service has additional coverage.

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