SUDAN WATCH: African leaders warn against sending non-African troops to Darfur, Sudan

Thursday, February 17, 2005

African leaders warn against sending non-African troops to Darfur, Sudan

At a meeting in Chad's capital N'Djamena, African leaders, including Sudan's President Bashir, urged the international community not to send non-African troops to Darfur and not to impose sanctions.

"The heads of state called on the international community to continue to give its support to African efforts already under way and to abstain from all action which could harm these efforts, including the imposition of sanctions and all deployment of non-African forces," they said in a statement.

The leaders called for a "total and definitive ceasefire" in Darfur and urged the AU to transform its mission into a real peacekeeping operation, respecting Sudan's sovereignty.

Previous agreements to stop the fighting and disarm have been repeatedly flouted by both sides and there have been close to 100 confirmed truce violations since late last year.

Bashir said after the talks in Chad that he would respect all previous ceasefire accords.

"We want this problem to remain African, in the hands of the African Union, that the AU assumes its responsibilities and has the confidence of the international community," he said. - Reuters Full Story via Wired News 17 Feb.
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Annan urges immediate action to end 'Hell on Earth' in Darfur

"While the United Nations may not be able to take humanity to heaven, it must act to save humanity from hell," Annan said at a UN meeting Feb 16 called to review a report submitted earlier this month by a UN-appointed commission on Darfur.

The report accused the Sudanese government and militias of "heinous crimes." It said rebels were responsible for serious crimes but its chief criticism was directed at the government's inability to stop marauding Arab militiamen.

"This report is one of the most important documents in recent history of the United Nations. It makes chilling reading. And it is a call to action," said Annan.

"The report demonstrates beyond all doubt that the last two years have been little short of hell on earth for our fellow human beings in Darfur." - BBC Full Story 17 Feb.
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UN rights chief says Hague court should try Darfur crimes

The UN Security Council is considering trials for perpetrators of atrocities who have been named on a sealed list drawn up by the UN-appointed commission.

Annan and Louise Arbour, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said on Feb 16 that any meaningful prosecution had to be handled by the International Criminal Court, an institution which Washington opposes.

"Referral to the ICC is the best means by which to halt ongoing violations and prevent future ones," Arbour told the UN Security Council at an open meeting yesterday.

"With an already existing set of well-defined rules of procedure and evidence, the court is the best-suited institution for ensuring speedy investigations leading to arrests and demonstrably fair trials," she said.

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