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UN rights chief says Sudan may have violated international law with Darfur air raids

[JURIST] Sudan [JURIST news archive] may have violated international law by conducting "indiscriminate and disproportionate" air attacks in late April on at least five Darfur villages, according to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official profile]. Sudanese officials have denied the attacks. Arbour said helicopter gunships and Antonov aircraft were responsible for the attacks on villages near El Fasher in North Darfur, resulting in extensive civilian casualties, including school children.

Since civil war broke out in the Darfur region in 2003, over 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced. Reports by the UN Human Rights Council and the International Committee for the Red Cross [official websites] have documented numerous violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law [JURIST reports] based on interviews with refugees, rebel groups, and agencies and authorities working in the region. The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] is also conducting an investigation into war crimes [ICC materials] in Sudan; however, Sudan has repeatedly rejected the ICC's jurisdiction [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

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