ICC prosecutor seeks to move Darfur probe to Sudan

[JURIST] Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile; BBC profile], prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] at The Hague, is expected to tell the UN Security Council Tuesday that the ICC's investigation [JURIST report] in Darfur has revealed large numbers of killings, mass rapes, and other "grave" crimes [JURIST report] and has identified several alleged criminal incidents for full investigation. Moreno-Ocampo's report to the UN will also show, however, that his investigative team has been unable to interview witnesses in Sudan and instead has relied on potential witnesses who have been "screened" outside of Sudan. Moreno-Ocampo hopes to travel to Sudan in early 2006 to visit with Sudan's domestic Darfur tribunal [JURIST report] and other judicial bodies that are investigating crimes in Darfur [JURIST news archive]. Under the Rome Statute [PDF text; backgrounder], which established the ICC, the prosecutor may only try suspected war criminals when national courts are unable or unwilling to investigate. According to Moreno-Ocampo, the Sudanese special tribunal has convicted 13 of 160 suspects, though a new Human Rights Watch report [text] says that no mid- or high-level government official, military commander or militia leader has been suspended, prosecuted or investigated in Sudan. Reuters has more.

12:04 PM ET - Sudan's justice minister said Tuesday that ICC investigators will not be allowed to travel to Darfur to complete the investigation into suspected war crimes. Mohammed Ali al-Mardi said that the Sudanese judicial system is capable of prosecuting any Darfur war criminals and that ICC officials have no jurisdiction inside Sudan. Reuters has more.



 

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