War crimes and others being committed in Sudan's Darfur, says ICC prosecutor

Karim Khan of the International Criminal Court says evidence suggests Rome Statute crimes are being committed in the restive Sudanese region

The civil war has mostly been centred in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, but it has also reignited the long-simmering conflict in Darfur. AFP
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The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor on Monday said there is evidence of war crimes being perpetrated in the Darfur region by both the Sudanese armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

Addressing the UN Security Council from Chad, Karim Khan conveyed his unequivocal assessment that there is evidence that Rome Statute crimes - which include genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes - are being committed in the restive Sudanese region.

“The alleged atrocities that have taken place in El Geneina form a central line of investigations that my office is pursuing at this current moment,” he said.

“We are collecting a very significant body of material, information and evidence that is relevant to those particular crimes."

The war has mostly been centred in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, but it has also reignited the long-simmering conflict in Darfur. RSF and allied Arab militiamen rampaged throughout the region last summer, killing up to thousands of Masalit tribesmen in the town of El Geneina and forcing tens of thousands to flee across the nearby border into Chad.

The UN Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC in 2015.

Mr Khan said he had sought help and information from Sudan to enable the entry of investigators to the country, investigators have not received even a “scrap of paper from the Sudanese armed forces”.

Darfur conflict - in pictures

“I met with Gen [Abdel Fattah] Al Burhan in September," Mr Khan said, referring to the head of Sudan's armed forces.

"He promised co-operation with the ICC. But despite that promise to meet face to face, despite the often-cited investigative committee that the Sudanese armed forces say has been established to catalogue and investigate any allegations of crimes, we have received no information whatsoever.”

Responding to Mr Khan's comments, Sudan’s ambassador to the UN Hassan Hamid Hassan said: “Those who plan for a genocide are not that stupid. They are not that stupid to leave documents in the treasuries and in the safe boxes of the government to be found by anyone who wants to hold them accountable.”

The Sudanese civil war, which broke out on April 15 last year, has resulted in more than 10,000 deaths and the displacement of about 6.5 million people.

The conflict erupted due to disputes regarding the blueprint for a political transition and the integration of the RSF into the military following the removal of former leader Omar Al Bashir.

The conflict has persisted despite numerous international attempts to broker a ceasefire.

Meanwhile, the US on Monday announced that a reward of up to $5 million would be given for information that leads to the arrest, transfer or conviction of Sudan's former minister of state for the interior, Ahmad Mohammad Harun, due to his alleged participation in war crimes.

Mr Harun, who served under Al Bashir, is wanted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur between 2003 and 2004, the US State Department said.

Updated: January 29, 2024, 8:41 PM