SUDAN -- January 18 -- To ensure an end to impunity for the worst crimes committed in conflicts in the Sudan, the UN Security Council must refer the situation in the country, including Darfur, to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. In the same way, it should refer to the Prosecutor situations anywhere in the world where crimes under international law occur. The UN Security Council has repeatedly emphasized concern at the failure of Sudan to end impunity and must now act to remain coherent.|
The International Criminal Court would, however, only try a handful of those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The UN Security Council and the international community must also support a comprehensive reform of the Sudanese justice system so as to enable it to bring to justice perpetrators of serious crimes under international human rights and humanitarian law.
The right of victims and their families to truth and justice is an essential element of the process of reconciliation and peace in Sudan. For peace between Northern and Southern Sudan to last and to end human rights violations against civilians currently under siege in Darfur, those responsible for the worst crimes under international law must be brought to justice, Amnesty International stated today in a new report Sudan: Who will answer for the crimes?
The people in Darfur continue to risk their lives in attempts to expose and seek redress for the egregious human rights abuses visited on them. In the Nuba Mountains the Sudanese people hope that peace will enable them to find the truth behind the disappearances of their relatives and friends. Communities affected by enslavement practices in Bahr-el-Ghazal have affirmed their will to see the perpetrators of these abuses prosecuted and reparations awarded to the survivors. Lawyers in the North await the removal of emergency legislation which blocks hundreds of complaints for acts of torture, so as to help their clients get the justice they deserve. In southern Sudan, many civilians are fearful of future actions by militia, who have behaved as if they were unaccountable.
The Sudanese government and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), must uphold their responsibility for a lasting peace, built on truth and justice, for the Sudanese people. They must engage in a process to establish truth and reconciliation in the country.
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), to end the 21 year old civil war in Sudan between the central government and the main armed group (SPLM/A) in the South, was signed on 9 January 2005. The protocols and agreements which form the CPA are silent on the gross abuses committed during the conflict, many of which constitute crimes under international law.
In Darfur, the west of the country, the conflict is continuing today with civilians being targeted and displaced. An international Commission of Inquiry has been mandated by the UN Security Council "to investigate reports of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law by all parties, to determine whether or not acts of genocide have occurred, and to identify the perpetrators of such violations with a view to ensure that those responsible are held accountable". The Commission is due to report to the UN Security Council by 25 January 2005.