International prosecutor on Sudan says 2.5 million lives at stake

The UN Security Council heard a briefing from Luis Moreno Ocampo, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, on the ongoing investigations into crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region. Mr. Ocampo delivered a harsh rebuke of the Sudanese government, highlighting ongoing government-sponsored atrocities and a complete lack of cooperation by the authorities in Khartoum. “The Government of the Sudan,” he stated plainly, “is not cooperating with my office, or the [International Criminal] Court.”

Mr. Ocampo accused the Sudanese government of actively sponsoring the killing and suffering in Darfur. “We are witnessing a calculated, organized campaign by Sudanese officials to attack individuals and further destroy the social fabric of entire communities,” he said. Mr. Ocampo also chastised those who called the violence in Darfur “sporadic” or simply “inter-tribal clashes,” noting that such language was used to “cover up” ongoing atrocities.

In his capacity as prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mr. Ocampo expressed deep dismay at Sudan’s lack of cooperation to bring to justice Ahmad Harun, former Sudanese Minister of the Interior, and Ali Kushayb, a Janjaweed leader. Both of these men are charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity, including ordering killings, rape, and looting.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Ocampo asked the Security Council to send a “strong and unanimous” message to the Government of Sudan, requesting compliance with relevant Security Council resolutions and the execution of the arrest warrants for Messrs. Harun and Kushayb.

“You can make a difference, you can break the criminal system,” he told the Council. “What is at stake is, simply, the life or death of 2.5 million people.”

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