ICC Prosecutor Seeks Evidence of War Crimes in Sudan's Darfur - Latest Global News

ICC Prosecutor Seeks Evidence of War Crimes in Sudan’s Darfur

Karim Khan’s appeal came after the escalation of violence in and around El-Fasher, the capital of North Darfur.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has called for witnesses to submit evidence in support of an urgent investigation launched by his office into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Sudan has been at war since April last year, when a rivalry between the leadership of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) turned violent.

According to the aid organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF), more than 190 people were killed and 1,200 injured in the four-week fighting in and around el-Fasher, the capital of North Darfur.

“I am extremely concerned about allegations that widespread crimes under international law are being committed in el-Fasher and the surrounding areas,” ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan said in a video message on Tuesday, adding that the investigation “appears to uncover an organized, systematic and profound attack on human dignity.”

His investigators have seen credible allegations that there appear to have been ethnically motivated attacks on civilians, widespread rape and attacks on hospitals, Khan said, urging anyone with possible evidence, video or audio material to submit it to his office.

Khan’s statement came days after an RSF attack forced the closure of a major hospital in el-Fasher on Sunday. The group fired shots and looted the hospital, MSF reported.

Home to more than 1.8 million residents and displaced people, El-Fasher is the only regional capital in the vast Darfur region not under RSF control and a key humanitarian hub for a region teetering on the brink of famine.

People in the town described el-Fasher as โ€œhell on earth where they could lose their lives any day,โ€ Toby Harward, the UNโ€™s deputy humanitarian coordinator for Sudan, told Al Jazeera last month.

Previous atrocities

The ICC has long investigated atrocities in Sudan that date back to an earlier devastating conflict in Darfur.

The court in The Hague can prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and, in some cases, aggression, if they were committed on the territory of one of the court’s 124 member states or by nationals of ICC member states. It can also be referred by the UN Security Council, as happened in the Darfur case in 2005.

The court has issued arrest warrants against former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. He is accused, among other things, of genocide in Darfur, which is alleged to have been committed between 2003 and 2008.

The RSF emerged from Arab militias, commonly known as Janjaweed, mobilized by al-Bashir against non-Arab tribes in Darfur.

At the time, they were accused of mass murder, rape and other atrocities.

Khan again referred to the previous conflict in his message on Tuesday.

“It is a scandal that we are allowing history to repeat itself in Darfur,” he said. “We cannot and must not allow Darfur to once again become a globally forgotten atrocity.”

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