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Special

U.N. Darfur Report: Genocidal Intent in the Sudan

by Marinka Peschmann, Special to Canada Free Press

February 2, 2005

The Darfur Report, issued by the International Committee, charged by the United Nation Security Council, to investigate crimes in Sudan, concluded that "the Government of the Sudan has not pursued a policy of genocide." But early media leaks have failed to tell the whole story.

Canada Free Press has obtained a copy of the 176 page Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to the United Nations Secretary-General, released on Monday.

according to the report, "The Commission does recognize that in some instances individuals, including Government officials, may commit acts with genocidal intent. [Emphasis added] Whether this was the case in Darfur, however, is a determination that only a competent court can make on a case by case basis." Cited under the Commission's "accountability Mechanism" section, the International Commission "strongly recommends that the Security Council immediately refer the situation of Darfur to the International Criminal Court."

The "competent" court cited by the International Commission, the International Criminal Court, was established in part "to prosecute crimes such as genocide."  

Ratified on July 17, 1998, the International Criminal Court, was adopted when 120 States participated in the "United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court." The International Criminal Court is the first ever permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to promote the rule of law and ensure that the gravest international crimes do not go unpunished," and has "jurisdiction only over crimes committed after July 1, 2002, when the Statute entered into force."

UN Secretary—General Kofi annan said, in the summer of 1998,  "For nearly half a century--almost as long as the United Nations has been in existence--the General assembly has recognized the need to establish such a court to prosecute and punish persons responsible for crimes such as genocide."

In February 2003, the conflict in Darfur was ignited by two rebel groups in what's been described as a fight against discrimination, and neglect against african Sudanese. Tens of thousands of people have been killed, and more than 1.8 million have been displaced from their homes.

according to the report, The International Commission has identified persons responsible for crimes against the Sudanese who include, "individual perpetrators, officials of the Government of Sudan, members of militia forces, members of rebel groups, and certain foreign army officers acting in their personal capacity," and is currently withholding their names pending an investigation. "International offenses such as the crimes against humanity and war crimes that have been committed in Darfur may be no less serious and heinous than genocide," added the report who specifies that the Commission "makes an assessment of likely suspects, rather than a final judgment as to criminal guilt."

The inquiry into Sudan began in October 2004, and ended in January, leaving the Commission "particularly alarmed that attacks on villages, killing of civilians, rape, pillaging and forced displacement have continued during the course of the Commission's mandate." 

Last September, Prime Minister Martin pledged $20 million to the ongoing human crisis, in Darfur. President George Bush called the atrocities, genocide.

So while the UN continues to debate semantics, the killings continue. Last week, the Sudan ceasefire negotiated last year, was broken again, on January 28, 2005, when Sudanese Government airplanes bombed a village in Darfur, "killing or injuring as many as 100 people."  according to the International Criminal Court, "Genocide is defined as a list of prohibited acts, such as killing or causing serious harm, committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group."

Marinka Peschmann is a freelance writer whose first book collaboration, the best-selling The Kid Stays In The Picture; was made into a documentary. She's contributed to several books and stories ranging from showbiz and celebrities to true crime and politics.



Canada Free Press, CFP Editor Judi McLeod