Darfur crisis puts Sudan in trouble

Published on Wednesday 4th June 2008

Somalia: The "whole state apparatus" of Sudan is implicated in crimes against humanity in Darfur, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor has said.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo's report into the crisis in western Sudan, due on Thursday, coincides with a visit to the region by the UN Security Council.

Sudan's ambassador to the UN said the comments were "fictitious and vicious" and harmful to the prospects of peace.

The UN ambassadors are in Darfur to try to find a way to end the conflict.

In the report on the situation in Sudan, to be delivered to the remaining members of the UN Security Council in New York, Mr Moreno-Ocampo repeats his earlier call for the council to demand that Sudan hand over two men who face charges of crimes against humanity.

The treaty that created the International Criminal Court (ICC) was intended to hold individuals, not entire states, responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

By accusing Sudan's "whole state apparatus" of helping shield criminals, correspondents say, the prosecutor is implicating some of the highest officials of the government.

The Sudanese ambassador to the UN responded angrily that his country will not bend to the will of the ICC.

"We will never submit any of our citizens to be tried in The Hague," Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamed said.

"Ocampo is destroying the peace process and we demand that this man be held accountable for what he is doing to the peace process in Sudan."

Moreno-Ocampo again demands that Sudan hand over Ali Kushayb, a leader of the Janjaweed militia, and Ahmad Harun, Sudan's current Humanitarian Affairs Minister.

They are charged with 51 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including acts of murder, persecution, torture, rape and forcible displacement.