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World faces ‘ugly and inescapable truth’ in Darfur, says ICC prosecutor

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Prosecutor Karim Khan highlighted the “ugly and inescapable truth” that failure to act now is not only a damning verdict for the present, but will subject future generations to a similar fate.

It can’t be ‘play, rewind and repeat’‘”, he warned.

A clear assessment from his office indicated the existence of “grounds to believe” that Rome Statute crimes – genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity – are being committed by both the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). with affiliated groups.

“We must do more,” he stressed, urging Sudan to comply in good faith with Security Council resolutions, cooperate with his office and provide requested information, and allow investigators to enter in the country.

Referral to the ICC

In March 2005, the Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC Prosecutor to investigate allegations of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

During this period, the region was engulfed in a brutal war involving the military government, Janjaweed militias and rebel groups, resulting in the loss of hundreds of thousands of civilian lives and the displacement of millions more from their homes over the course of a campaign marked by ethnic cleansing against non-Arabs.

In July last year, Mr Khan announced the opening of an investigation into new allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, in the context of the ongoing war between the forces of SAF and RSF and their affiliated groups.

“Disastrous situation in all respects”

Speaking to ambassadors via video link from Chad’s capital N’Djamena, Mr Khan described the situation as “disastrous in every way”.

Since the start of the conflict in April 2023, more than 7.1 million Sudanese civilians have been displaced, including 1.5 million forced to seek refuge in neighboring countries.

Chad, in particular, hosts more than 540,000 Sudanese refugees, a number expected to reach 910,000 by the end of 2024.

“In the affected regions of Chad, a third of the population is made up of refugees; they are coming at a faster rate than Chad, faster than the United Nations can respond,” Khan said, adding that many of those seeking safety are showing signs of serious injuries and trauma. .

Refugees themselves have provided chilling testimonies describing sexual violence against Darfur women and girls, brutal murders and racially motivated crimes.

The rule of law is collapsing

Mr. Khan warned the Council that the crisis in Darfur was deepening, with the war affecting swathes of the continent, from Libya on the Mediterranean to sub-Saharan Africa and from Sudan’s Red Sea coast to the Atlantic.

We see a number of areas where conflict appears to triumph over the rule of law and muffle the voices of the most vulnerable.,” he said.

Stressing that judicial orders and court judgments alone cannot resolve the problem, the ICC Prosecutor urged the international community to devise innovative solutions to address the “catastrophe” in Darfur and prevent violence from spreading. spread further.

Meeting expectations

Mr. Khan urged Council members not to lose sight of the individual human stories behind the statistics of those affected by brutal crimes and war.

“These are individuals whose lives have been torn apart, each of whom has a story of misfortune and suffering,” he said, emphasizing the collective responsibility of the Security Council, the United Nations, Member States, regional organizations and the ICC “to live up to the promises we have made on several occasions”.

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