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Sudan appoints new prosecutor for Darfur crimes

Sudan's Ministry of Justice [official website, in Arabic] on Tuesday appointed a new special prosecutor for crimes committed in Darfur [JURIST news archive]. Justice Minister Mohamed Bushara Dousa announced Yasir Ahmed Mohamed, a senior counselor, as the new prosecutor who will handle criminal cases surrounding the crimes committed between August 2003 and March 2004, the Sudan Tribune reported [Sudan Tribune report]. Yasir will be the third special prosecutor, succeeding two former prosecutors who resigned for unknown reasons after failing to prosecute suspects responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes. The new prosecutor announced that the headquarters will be located in the capital of North Darfur state El Fasher. He will assume the office next week at which time he will move with his aides to the new location.

Sudan has failed to prosecute any suspects allegedly responsible for the crimes committed in Darfur leading the UN Security Council [official website] in March 2005 to refer the cases to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. Since then the ICC has been working to prosecute individuals responsible for the Darfur crimes. In March, the Pre-Trial Chamber I of the ICC issued [JURIST report] an arrest warrant for Sudanese Defense Minister Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein who was charged with 20 counts of crimes against humanity (including persecution, murder, forcible transfer, rape, inhumane acts, imprisonment or severe deprivation of liberty and torture) and 21 counts of war crimes (including murder, attacks against civilian population, destruction of property, rape, pillaging and outrage upon personal dignity). This was the fourth arrest warrant that the ICC issued against high officials alleged to be involved in the Darfur crimes. The arrest warrant was sought [JURIST report] by the former chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] last December. During the same month, Ocampo called [JURIST report] on the international community to cooperate with the ICC in enforcing the arrest warrants noting that all states parties to the Rome Statute have an obligation to do so. The ICC had also charged [JURIST report] Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [case materials; JURIST news archive] in July 2010 with three counts of genocide [warrant, PDF] in relation to the Darfur conflict.

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