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Sudan justice minister again rejects ICC jurisdiction in Darfur

[JURIST] Sudanese Justice Minister Mohammed Ali al-Mardi said Wednesday that the Sudanese government can do a better job prosecuting war crimes in Darfur than the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. In an interview with AP, al-Mardi reiterated Sudan's position that they country is "willing and able to try all perpetrators of offenses in Darfur" and that the ICC "has absolutely no right to assume any jurisdiction." Al-Mardi explained that three special courts have been set up by the Sudanese government to prosecute crimes and war crimes and said the courts have tried both civilians and military personnel for Darfur crimes. According to al-Mardi, only local courts can conduct trials that will be deemed legitimate in the eyes of the Sudanese people.

While al-Mardi indicated in December 2006 that Sudan will cooperate [JURIST report] with a UN Human Rights Council [official website] mission investigating human rights abuses in Darfur, Human Rights Watch and other international organizations have accused Sudan of doing little to prosecute those responsible for atrocities in Darfur. In a briefing paper [text] released in June 2006, Human Rights Watch accused Sudan's Special Criminal Court on the Events in Darfur of failing to accomplish its mission [JURIST report] of prosecuting war crimes.

In December 2006, Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile], chief prosecutor for the ICC, told the UN Security Council [official website] that his investigation [ICC materials] into crimes committed in Darfur [JURIST news archive] is almost complete [JURIST report], noting that he is "preparing to submit evidence to the ICC judges no later than February 2007." New UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] said in early January 2007 that resolving the crisis in Darfur was "very high" on his agenda [remarks] and would be one of his top priorities [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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