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Darfur Rebel Groups Hail UN War Crimes Resolution

Rebel groups are pleased with a United Nations resolution to refer war crimes suspects in the Darfur region of western Sudan to the International Criminal Court. But the Sudanese government says the U.N. action could hurt peace efforts.

The Justice and Equality Movement, one of two rebel groups operating in war-torn Darfur, sees the U.N. resolution as a major boost for the fragile peace process.

Its UK-based spokesman, Ahmed Hussain Adam, explains: "It is a victory for the people of Darfur and a victory also for humanity in general. We'll go to our people in Darfur with confidence that the comprehensive solution is going to be there in Darfur, and I think that also indicates that the international community learned its lesson from Rwanda."

Mr. Adam says the move will contribute positively to negotiations, the respecting of a cease-fire, and other efforts to bring peace to the volatile area. He calls the latest development a "breakthrough in terms of the political solution."

He says everyone now knows human rights violators cannot escape the international justice system.

Darfur's other rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Army, also praised the U.N. Security Council's resolution, passed late Thursday.

Rebel officials say the resolution is a big step towards justice, and that the group would cooperate fully if any of its members are called to appear before the International Criminal Court.

Not everyone was pleased with the resolution. Press reports quote Sudanese government officials calling it "unfair" and "narrow-minded."

The Sudanese government argues its own judiciary is competent to hear and try cases of human rights violations.

Earlier this week, the government said it had arrested more than a dozen officials from the military and security forces accused of committing rape, murder, and arson against civilians.

The two-year-old conflict in Darfur, which the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis, has displaced an estimated 1.5 million people and has killed tens of thousands more.