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Darfur crimes continue, Sudan not cooperating with ICC, official says

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is accused by the International Criminal Court of war crimes.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is accused by the International Criminal Court of war crimes.
  • The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor reported Friday to the U.N. Security Council
  • Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo says violence continues in Darfur
  • Moreno-Ocampo also highlighted Sudanese president's role in the situation
  • International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrant for Sudan's president

United Nations (CNN) -- The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor reported Friday to the U.N. Security Council that violence continues in Darfur and that the Sudanese president and his government are not cooperating with investigators.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo noted positive developments in judicial proceedings and "fruitful" cooperation with international bodies, but said there still remain many setbacks. He explained that crimes continue in the region, including "indiscriminate bombings of civilians ... rapes and sexual violence" and the "use of child soldiers."

Moreno-Ocampo also highlighted Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's role in the situation. "Any leader committing crimes will face justice. Power does not provide immunity."

Al-Bashir has refused to appoint a lawyer to represent his position in court and, because of the ICC-issued warrant for his arrest, has not risked traveling to attend high-level events such as the U.N. General Assembly or a meeting held by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, or to other countries where it had been thought he might go, such as Uganda, Nigeria and Venezuela.

Moreno-Ocampo said respect for the International Criminal Court's decision to issue the warrant would send a clear message that al-Bashir "will face justice."

"There was no immunity for President [Slobodan] Milosevic [of the former Yugoslavia], there was no immunity for Prime Minister [Jean] Kambanda [of Rwanda], there was no immunity for President [Charles] Taylor [of Liberia]," he said.

Video: The ICC's chief proseuctor
  • Sudan
  • Darfur
  • Genocide

Instead of complying with the Security Council, al-Bashir has used the Sudanese state apparatus "to commit massive crimes" and has attempted to "exacerbate" the conflict in the South as means of shifting the international community's attention away from Darfur, Moreno-Ocampo said. He also accused al-Bashir of "stopping information about the crimes" rather than stopping the crimes themselves.

Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Rosemary DiCarlo called on the Sudanese government to fully cooperate with the International Criminal Court and its investigations as called for in Security Council Resolution 1593.

"The United States believes that those responsible for the atrocities in Darfur must be held accountable" as they "affect the stability of Sudan as a whole," she said.

DiCarlo said the ongoing violence in Darfur undermines "an already fragile humanitarian situation" and urged all states "to refrain from providing political or financial support" to those charged by the International Criminal Court .

Moreno-Ocampo said his office was considering holding responsible Sudanese officials "who actively deny and dissimulate crimes."

"Since Nuremberg, due obedience is no longer a legal excuse" for the facilitation of such criminal acts, he said.

Sudanese Ambassador Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad responded by calling Moreno-Ocampo a "mercenary of death and destruction," back once more to spread his "illusions" and "catastrophic vision."

"This is a big lie. The war in Darfur is over," he said.

Mohamad turned to those in the Security Council who asked for justice, and said they "should feel ashamed" and that their "credibility is at stake, if they have any."

The Sudanese ambassador said Moreno-Ocampo "would like to prolong the suffering of our people," and said, "We will charge him with political prostitution."

Reiterating his role as prosecutor is "to investigate and prosecute to contribute to the prevention of future crimes," Moreno-Ocampo said he is "ready to answer any challenge in court."

However, he acknowledged he would need the Security Council's full support "to end the current crimes against the people from Darfur."