The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court at The Hague says the situation in the Darfur region of Sudan is an "on-going genocide." In his biannual briefing to the U.N. Security Council on Thursday, Luis Moreno-Ocampo accused the Khartoum government of protecting those responsible for the atrocities.
Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo told the 15-member council that Sudan's government is not cooperating with the ICC and that it is not conducting national proceedings against those suspected of carrying out crimes. "Since 2005, Sudanese authorities have consistently promised to do justice, creating mechanisms such as special courts and prosecutors, while consistently and deliberately protecting those who commit the crimes," he said.
Among those who have been indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide are Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir; the now governor of South Kordofan state Ahmed Haroun and Janjaweed leader Ali Koshayb. None of the suspects have been handed over to the court.
In his report to the Security Council, Moreno-Ocampo said hundreds of civilians were killed during the last six months in Darfur, while thousands more were forcefully displaced and more than 2.5 million people are suffering what he called a subtle form of genocide through rape and fear. "The situation in Darfur is not just a humanitarian crisis. It is a systematic attack against the civilian population. The situation in Darfur is a genocide; it is an ongoing genocide," he said.
Sudan's UN Ambassador told reporters that his government believes in combating impunity. He criticized the prosecutor's report, saying it contained "erroneous information."
Darfur has been plagued by conflict since rebels took up arms in 2003, accusing the government of neglecting the region. The United Nations says more than 300,000 people have been killed in the violence and 2.7 million others displaced. Sudan's government puts the death toll much lower, at 10,000.