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Atrocities in Darfur must end: international court prosecutor

4/5/2005 6:35pm

UNITED NATIONS, April 5 (AFP) -- The world must act to end the "culture of impunity" that lies behind ongoing mass killings and systematic rape in the Darfur region of Sudan, the International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo said Tuesday.

"We all have a common task to protect life and to end the culture of impunity" in Sudan, Ocampo said in a statement at the United Nations.

Ocampo is responsible for bringing to trial and prosecuting the people behind the Sudanese government's two-year-old scorched earth campaign against ethnic minority rebels in Darfur.

Marked by mass killings, torture, rape and pillage, the campaign has left more than 300,000 dead and 2.4 million people displaced, according to a British parliament report.

Last week the UN Security Council demanded prosecution in the Hague court of a reported 51 suspects, including high Sudanese government officials, identified by a UN commission of inquiry in January.

The list was turned over to the court this week.

"The commission report says that there were mass killings of innocent civilians, systematic rape of girls and women," Ocampo said.

"I have to assess the crimes and the admissibility of the cases. I will analyse the commission documents and gather all existing information. I urge states and organisations with information on Darfur to provide it to my office," Ocampo said.

Ocampo spoke after hundreds of thousands took to the streets of the Sudanese capital Tuesday in a defiant state-sponsored demonstration against the Security Council and International Criminal Court.

President Omar al-Beshir Monday solemnly swore "thrice in the name of Almighty Allah that I shall never hand any Sudanese national to a foreign court

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