[JURIST] A UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] investigative team released a report [text] Monday saying the citizens of Darfur [JURIST news archive] need immediate protection against war crimes, blaming the government of Sudan for many of the atrocities taking place there. Nobel peace prize laureate Jody Williams [official profile] led the group that tried to enter Sudan over a 20-day period last month, but was turned away [JURIST report] repeatedly by the Sudanese government. Their report said:
The needs identified by the Mission include immediate, effective protection of civilians, renewed progress toward peace, expanded humanitarian space, increased accountability for perpetrators, action to address root causes, meaningful compensation and redress for victims, and concerted efforts to implement the many existing recommendations of authoritative international human rights bodies. The Mission further concludes that the Government of the Sudan has manifestly failed to protect the population of Darfur from large-scale international crimes, and has itself orchestrated and participated in these crimes. As such, the solemn obligation of the international community to exercise its responsibility to protect has become evident and urgent.
Since the Darfur conflict began, over 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced. The UN rights group examined instances of rape, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention of civilians, and violations of free speech through interviews with refugees, rebel groups, agencies working in the Darfur region, and African Union [official website] officials. Last month, the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website], which has been investigating crimes in Darfur [ICC fact sheet, PDF; ICC situation materials] since 2005, asked a panel of ICC judges to summon [JURIST report] a former interior minister of the Sudanese government to face war crimes allegations. Sudan has refused to release suspects [JURIST report] named by the ICC, however, saying it has created its own war crimes court. AP has more.