HRF Urges Prosecutor to Pursue Evidence 'Up the Chain of Command' in Darfur Case
On Feb. 27, evidence supporting charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur was submitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo. The submission named two suspects: Ahmad Muhammad Harun, former Minister of State for the Interior of the Government of Sudan, and Ali Kushayb, a leader of the Janjaweed.
“With this submission, the ICC Chief Prosecutor has stood up for the victims of the mass atrocities in Darfur and awakened the hope for justice in the region. He has also warned all parties to the conflict that they will pay a heavy price for any further attacks on civilians,” said Maureen Byrnes, Executive Director of Human Rights First.
“The first submission should not be the last,” added Byrnes. “The Chief Prosecutor should pursue evidence of criminal responsibility up the chain of command, no matter how high it takes him.”
The ICC Chief Prosecutor’s submission follows a more than 20-month probe into mass killings, rape, forced displacement and other gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Darfur. The investigation is likely to remain ongoing as long as the Sudanese government fails to hold accountable those responsible for widespread abuses against civilians in the region.
The ICC investigation began after the U.N. Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the court in March 2005 and mandated the cooperation of the Sudanese government and all other parties to the conflict.
Since 2003, civilians in Darfur have been victims of mass killings and rape, and more than two million people have been forced to flee for their lives. The Sudanese government’s armed forces and proxy militia, the Janjaweed, are largely responsible for these attacks.