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Sudan government ‘orchestrated Darfur crimes’

ICC NOTE: The UN human rights team is now reporting that the Sudanese government has orchestrated and taken part in human rights and war crimes in the Darfur region.

James Sturcke

3/12/07 Sudan For the full article… (Guardian Unlimited) The Sudanese government has orchestrated and taken part in “large-scale international crimes” in Darfur , a high-level UN human rights team said today.

Headed by the Nobel peace laureate Jody Williams, the UN assessors found the Sudanese government was responsible for waging a ruthless campaign resulting in war crimes and human rights abuses.

“The principal pattern is one of a violent counter-insurgency campaign waged by the government of the Sudan in concert with Janjaweed/militia, and targeting mostly civilians. Rebel forces are also guilty of serious abuses of human rights and violations of humanitarian law,” Ms Williams’s team found.

During a two-week visit to the region, and despite Sudanese attempts to hamper their work by blocking visas, the five members of the UN party met hundreds of people affected by violence which has resulted in at least 200,000 deaths and the displacement of millions since rebels from African tribes took up arms against the government in 2003.

Most of the victims died after fleeing their homes under attack from government troops and the Arab Janjaweed militia they supported.

Sudan denies that widespread abuses have occurred in Darfur and does not recognise the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is also investigating war crimes in the region.

Repeated attempts by the UN and the African Union to halt the killings have proven “inadequate and ineffective”, the 35-page advance version of the report (Word document) finds, and have been resisted by the Sudanese government.

“The mission further concludes that the government of the Sudan has manifestly failed to protect the population of Darfur from large-scale international crimes, and has itself orchestrated and participated in these crimes,” the report says.

The report was commissioned last December by the UN human rights council, which is expected to consider options against Sudan in the coming fortnight.