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Sudan ends legal immunity for police officers accused of crimes

[JURIST] Sudan [JURIST news archive] has issued a decree abolishing legal immunities that protect police from criminal prosecution, the Sudanese government said Tuesday. The decree, issued by the police director general, allows police officers to be tried for crimes but also guarantees quick legal proceedings.

UN rights experts have long criticized Sudan for giving blanket immunity to police and army officers, a policy that rights groups say has allowed rapes, kidnappings and murders perpetrated by government-aligned militias in Darfur [JURIST news archive] and elsewhere in the country to go unpunished. In July, the Sudanese government defended its handling of military and police personnel allegedly involved in human rights abuses [JURIST report] in Darfur before the UN Human Rights Committee [official website], denying allegations that the government was collaborating with armed militias that have committed some of the worst atrocities against civilians while insisting that the Sudanese judiciary is capable of handling allegations of murder, torture, and rape. Sudanese officials also defended a proposed Darfur peace accord [JURIST report] which contains an amnesty agreement, saying that the amnesty does not grant immunity from war crimes as they are defined by international conventions. Reuters has more.

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