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Sudan minister: ICC case a plot
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Dec 4, 2008 - 6:06:36 AM

Sudan minister: ICC case a plot

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File pic of Sudan's humanitarian affairs minister Ahmed Haroun
Ahmed Haroun said his conscience was clear over Darfur

A Sudanese government minister accused of war crimes in the Darfur region has dismissed the charges as part of a Western plot to re-colonise Sudan.

Sudan's Humanitarian Affairs Minister, Ahmed Haroun, told a British newspaper the evidence against him was concocted.

He said atrocities he is accused of in Darfur were committed by rebel forces.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor meanwhile told the BBC he has warned the UN not to be part of a "cover-up" of alleged crimes in Sudan. undefined undefined

'No regrets'

But speaking of the ICC case against him to the Guardian newspaper, Mr Haroun said: "My conscience is clear. I have no regrets."

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[President] Bashir's responsibility is not just ordering committing the crimes, he's also providing the cover-up
Luis Moreno-Ocampo
ICC prosecutor

"It is another phase of international colonisation. It targets mainly the Africans," he added.

"It reminds us of the 19th century, when the white people were dominating here in Africa." As well as pursuing Mr Haroun, ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo wants an arrest warrant issued for Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, for alleged war crimes and genocide in Darfur - a charge he denies.

Following his appearance at the 15-member UN Security Council on Wednesday, Mr Moreno-Ocampo told the BBC's Network Africa programme: "I briefed them about the importance that the Council could not be part of the cover-up of the crimes.

"Because [President] Bashir's responsibility is not just ordering committing the crimes, he's also providing the cover-up."

Judges at the ICC are due to decide whether to indict President Bashir by the start of next year.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo last month also asked judges for arrest warrants to be issued against three rebel commanders in Darfur.

'Short-lived ceasefire'

Sudan's government has always rejected charges that it armed the Janjaweed militias accused of widespread atrocities against civilians in the region.

The government in Khartoum has refused to co-operate with the ICC and has been campaigning for the Security Council to use its powers to suspend the court's proceedings for a year.

The African Union supports Sudan's call, arguing that arresting President Bashir would disrupt the peace process in Darfur.

South Africa has called on the Security Council to at least discuss suspension, but the US and European countries are opposed.

In November, Sudan's government called a unilateral ceasefire in Darfur, which rebel groups say was short-lived.

The UN estimates that up to 2.7 million people have been forced from their homes in Darfur and some 300,000 have died during five and a half years of conflict. undefined undefined

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