UN Security Council asks Sudan to surrender accused war criminals

The UN Security Council asked the Sudanese government on Monday to arrest two Sudanese nationals, including a government minister, as requested by the International Criminal Court (ICC) which has charged them with war crimes, dpa reported.

The ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, told the council in early June that Khartoum failed to carry out arrest warrants against Ahmed Harun, the minister for humanitarian affairs, and Ali Kushayh. The ICC accused them of committing crimes against humanity and war crimes in the ethnic conflict in Darfur.

But Khartoum said it has not signed the Rome Statute that created the ICC and is not bound to its jurisdiction.

Many countries that are UN members, including the United States, are not a party to the ICC.

The council said in a statement, following discussion on the ICC report on Sudan, that "the government of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict in Darfur shall cooperate fully and provide necessary assistance to the ICC and its prosecutor."

The ICC issued arrest warrants against the two Sudanese in June, 2007 following an investigation on crimes in Darfur. Khartoum consequently named Harun a government minister for humanitarian affairs.

Ocampo appeared before the council on June 5, saying that there had been no progress in the arrest of the two indicted Sudanese.

In Darfur, the evidence shows an organized campaign by Sudanese officials to attack civilians, in particular the Fur, Massalit and Zaghwa, with the objective of physically and mentally destroying entire communities, Ocampo said.

He said the first phase of attacks from 2003 to 2004 displaced 4 million people in Darfur and that more villages have been attacked since 2005. In 2008, 100,000 civilians were displaced from a dozen villages.

The UN said the ethnic conflict in Darfur since 2003 has killed more than 300,000 people and displaced millions of Darfurians. The conflict gas pitted Khartoum-backed Arab militias against African rebel groups.

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