UN Commission Finds Crimes Against Humanity in Sudan; Urges International Court Action

A United Nations-appointed commission released a report earlier this week that found that the pattern of atrocities in the Sudan did not constitute acts of genocide committed by the government, but instead found the government guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes. The commission is urging the Security Council to refer the case to the International Criminal Court (ICC), instead of an ad hoc tribunal like the United States is proposing. While the commission did not find evidence of an organized governmental act of genocide, it did state that it is up to a competent court to decide if there is evidence of government officials committing acts with “genocidal intent.”

The commission’s report documents atrocities committed primarily against Darfur’s black African tribes. The commission charged the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed (Arab militia) of committing murder, torture, kidnapping, rape, forced displacement and the destruction of villages, reports the Washington Post. More than 70,000 people have been killed due to the violence and more than 1.8 million have been driven from their homes.

The United Nations, European governments, human rights and women’s rights advocates want the case in Darfur to be brought before the ICC. The ICC identifies gender crimes as crimes against humanity. Ninety-four countries have fully ratified the treaty establishing the ICC. The United States is currently the only industrialized country that has not signed the treaty due to its fear that Americans could be tried before it.

TAKE ACTION with Global Rights: Send a letter to President Bush asking him to refer the case of Darfur to the ICC to show that the United States is a supporter of human rights.

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UN Commission report 1/25/05; Washington Post 2/1/05; New York Times 2/1/05; Global Rights 2/2/05

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