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ICC prosecutor urges arrest of Sudan war crimes suspects

[JURIST] Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official website] Thursday renewed [ICC press release; UN press release] his call [JURIST report] for the arrests of two top suspects accused of committing war crimes in the Darfur region of Sudan [JURIST news archive]. Moreno-Ocampo briefed UN Security Council (UNSC) [official website] delegates one week prior to their joint trip with African Union (AU) [official website] representatives to several African capital cities to lay out a "hybrid force" peacekeeping effort. The suspects, former Sudanese interior minister and current humanitarian affairs minister Ahmad Muhammad Harun and former militia leader Ali Muhammad Al Abd-Al-Rahman (also known as Ali Kushayb) [TrialWatch profiles], are each accused of nearly 50 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Moreno-Ocampo underscored the importance that every African nation helping to apprehend the suspects and urged the Security Council to "take the lead" in bringing them before a court.

Next week, the UN-AU team will seek approval from Sudanese officials to take over the peacekeeping mission and to deploy forces into Darfur. The ICC has conducted its own investigation into war crimes [ICC materials] in Sudan, and in May issued arrest warrants [JURIST report] for Harun and Abd-Al-Rahman. Sudan has repeatedly rejected the ICC's jurisdiction [JURIST report], with officials holding that Sudanese courts are capable of investigating and prosecuting the alleged war crimes. 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. AFP has more.

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