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Sudan insists ICC lacks jurisdiction over alleged Darfur war crimes

[JURIST] Sudanese Justice Minister Mohammed al-Mardi insisted Thursday that the International Criminal Court [official website] does not have jurisdiction to investigate war crimes committed in the volatile Darfur region [JURIST news archive] and said that Sudanese officials would not submit to questioning by ICC prosecutors in their investigation into crimes against humanity in Darfur [ICC materials]. Mardi said that Sudanese courts are capable of investigating and prosecuting alleged war crimes and said that officials are willing to discuss only "the progress of trials or the role of national justice" with ICC investigators. Under the ICC's Rome Statute [PDF text], the ICC can only prosecute individuals for war crimes, genocide or crimes against humanity when a state is unwilling or unable to genuinely prosecute.

In a report [PDF text] the UN Security Council Wednesday, ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo [official profile] said that the ICC's investigation has documented thousands of killings of civilians [JURIST report], large scale massacres, and hundreds of rapes that he anticipates will result in multiple cases rather than a single proceeding [UN News report]. Ocampo also criticized Sudan's lack of progress in its own investigations into the Darfur situation, saying that so far the government seems to be investigating and prosecuting only minor cases. Last week, Human Rights Watch condemned Sudan for failing to adequately prosecute war crimes [JURIST report] in their national courts. Mardi said Thursday that logistical problems have slowed down the national courts, but defended Sudan's investigations into the alleged war crimes. Reuters has more.

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