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ICC prosecutor seeks warrants in third Darfur probe
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Nov 15, 2008 - 6:02:11 AM

ICC prosecutor seeks warrants in third Darfur probe

THE HAGUE (AFP) The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said Friday he would seek arrest warrants next week in a new probe into war crimes in Darfur -- his first into acts by Sudanese rebel groups.

"Next week we will request new arrest warrants, for the attack against African Union peacekeepers in Haskanita" in southern Darfur in September last year, Luis Moreno-Ocampo told a gathering in The Hague of state parties to the Rome Statute that created the ICC.

"This is our third Darfur investigation."

Ten African Union peacekeepers were killed in an attack on Haskanita in southern Darfur in September last year.

In a report to the United Nations Security Council in June, Moreno-Ocampo said he had information that the killings were committed by two rebel splinter factions.

In May last year, the ICC issued warrants against Sudan's former interior minister Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb, a leader of the government-backed Janjaweed militia, for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country's troubled western Darfur region.

And in July this year, the prosecutor asked the court to issue a warrant for the arrest of Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Darfur.

A panel of judges is reviewing the evidence to determine whether there are reasonable grounds to proceed with the case, which Beshir has shrugged off.

He has so far also refused to hand over Harun and Kushayb.

According to the United Nations, up to 300,000 people have died in the Darfur conflict, and more than 2.2 million have fled their homes since rebels rose up against Khartoum in February 2003. Sudan puts the death toll at 10,000.

Moreno-Ocampo said Friday the Sudanese government has done nothing to bring war criminals to book.

"Denial and impunity remain."

The ICC is the world's first independent, permanent war crimes court.

Moreno-Ocampo also told the gathering that the probe into the Kivu regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where government forces are fighting rebels, were continuing.

"A multiplicity of crimes, sexual violence, displacements, pillaging, killings are allegedly committed by a multiplicity of groups," he said.



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