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Sec. Powell Says There's Genocide In Darfur - 2004-09-09

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says genocide has taken place -- and may still be occurring -- in Sudan's western Darfur region

Mr. Powell told a Senate panel Thursday the Sudanese government and pro-government militia have carried out murders, rapes, and other assaults against black Africans in Darfur.

He said the violence amounts to genocide because the perpetrators intended to destroy a group of people in whole or in part -- the official definition of genocide under the 1948 Geneva Convention.

"The evidence leads us to the conclusion, the United States to the conclusion, that genocide has occurred and may still be occurring in Darfur. We believe the evidence corroborate the specific intent of the purpertrators to destroy a group in whole or in part," says Mr. Powell.

That convention allows signatories to call on the United Nations to take action to prevent genocide. Mr. Powell said the United States was calling for a full U.N. investigation, with, in his words, "a view to ensuring accountability."

Mr. Powell said the United States concluded genocide was occurring after interviewing more than 1,000 Sudanese refugees in neighboring Chad.