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New UN Secretary-General promises to make Darfur top priority

[JURIST] New UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] said Tuesday that resolving the crisis in Darfur [JURIST news archive] was "very high" on his agenda [remarks] and would be one of his top priorities. Ban, whose tenure as secretary-general officially began Monday, said that he has already spoken to Jan Eliasson, former UN General Assembly President and current Special Representative for Sudan [UN News report], and that he has a meeting with Eliasson scheduled for Wednesday to discuss the Darfur situation. Ban's predecessor Kofi Annan had in the final weeks of his own term pressed UN bodies - especially the new UN Human Rights Council - to focus more on Darfur [JURIST report].

In comments to reporters, Ban also addressed Saddam Hussein's weekend execution [JURIST report] and the death penalty generally, saying:

Saddam Hussein was responsible for committing heinous crimes and unspeakable atrocities against the Iraqi people. We should never forget the victims of his crimes. The issue of capital punishment is for each and every Member State to decide. As a Secretary-General, at the same time, while I am firmly against impunity, I also hope that the members of the international community should pay due regard to all aspects of international humanitarian laws. During my entire tenure, I will try my best to help Member States, the international community, to strengthen the rule of law.
Reuters has more. The UN News Service has additional coverage.

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