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October 14, 2008

Sudan will conduct its own trials for suspects implicated in crimes in the war torn Darfur region,

Rights groups say Sudan's legal system is not equipped to handle genocide and war crime trials, while rebels say any Sudanese-held trial would be a sham and no substitute for international justice.
Ahmed Haroun, the current minister of humanitarian affairs, and Ali Kushayeb, a janjaweed militia leader, are facing 51 charges of rape, murder and forced expulsion of civilians in Darfur.

Kushayeb is in custody and Khartoum claims he will be held accountable for unspecified crimes. Haroun, however, has no official complaints lodged against him and will not stand trial, the justice minister said.

Ahmed Hussein, spokesman for rebel Justice and Equality Movement, denounced the Sudanese trials, as "propaganda" tools for al-Bashir's government, noting that the head of the judiciary is a member of the president's party.

"All they are doing now is a reaction to counter the measures and the (campaign) of the ICC," he said

Regarding the peace talks proposed by the Arab league, Justice and Equality Movement slammed the Arab justice ministers' failure to condemn crimes committed by the Sudanese government in Darfur. In a meeting held yesterday in Cairo, the Arab justice ministers voiced their support for Khartoum in face of an indictment by the International Criminal Court of president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir. The top Arab legal officials meeting in Cairo denounced what they described as "attempts to politicize the principles of international justice".
"The Arab Justice ministers failed even for lip services to condemn the acts of violence or the crimes that have been committed in Darfur." said Ahmed Hussein Adam the spokesperson of the rebel movement.

The ICC's prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo filed 10 charges: three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder. In early October ICC judges have officially started reviewing the case in a process that could possibly drag on to next year.

The ICC had already issued an arrest warrant for a Sudanese state minister, Ahmed Haroun, and a militia leader, Ali Kushayb. However, Sudan rejects any cooperation with the world court saying it is not party to the Rome Statue. Sudan Justice Minister Abdel Bassit Sabdarat told reporters in Cairo that a special prosecutor, that he appointed recently, is nearly finished with a number of reports on unspecified crimes committed in Darfur.

The ICC Statute prevents investigation into crimes that were looked into by local judiciary under the concept of "complementarity". However the Sudanese legal system is not equipped to handle genocide and war crime trials. Sudan must prosecute Haroun and Kushayb for the same accusations brought against them by the ICC in order for the latter to lose jurisdiction over their cases.

Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman, the Deputy Chairman of the General Congress for Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) points out that "the Arab League has for 6 years supported the government of Sudan (National Congress Party) unreservedly in spite of the mass killings and other atrocities in Darfur and failed to support the international action to protect the Sudanese citizens of Darfur.

Many observers incessantly ask and earnestly wonder why the National Congress Party (NCP) government move about hurriedly and hectically from an initiative to an initiative to resolve the crisis in Darfur, which it has created, while Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir has the absolute power, by virtue of the totalitarian nature of the regime he preside on, to take immediate resolution to end all outstanding issues of Sudan, including the Darfur problem? A swift answer was at hand; firstly the NCP regime has got neither the will nor the ability. Furthermore, the NCP government is run by the security and intelligence services led by the powerful clique formed of Nafie Ali Nafie, an adviser to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Salah Abdalla Gosh, the head of Sudan's National Security and Intelligence Services (NSIS) and others of the ilk who have created a corrupt, loser and failed police state detrimental to the livelihood of the Sudanese people as witnessed by the outspoken Mr. Pagan Amum, former Minister for Cabinet Affairs, and current Secretary General of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).

In the prevailing dilemma, those who are concerned about the plight of people of Sudan in Darfur, ask the question: what needs to be done now?! The obvious answer is that the government of Sudan knows what the people of Darfur want and the only way forward is in the hands of the NCP regime who needs to express its willingness to cooperate with the International Justice at The Hague and stop the killings and respond to the legitimate demands of the citizens of Sudan in the region of Darfur through genuine and serious talks for lasting peace on the negotiation table with the main Darfur rebel movements, representatives of IDPs/ Refugees and the Darfuri Civil Society Organisations without evasion, prevarication or delay.

"While the people of Darfur welcome constructive initiatives proposed to host peace talks--they are skeptical about the so-called "The People of Sudan's Initiative". This plain lie has been planned to be launched on Thursday 16th October by the NCP President Omer Hassan al-Bashir in an attempt to ward himself off from the predicaments of the heinous crimes he has committed against the innocent civilians in Darfur or to shield him from his impending fate at ICC when the arrest warrant that awaits him authorised by the Judges of the Criminal Court at The Hague."

Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman is the Deputy Chairman of the General Congress for Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

Indonesian Police Unit enters Darfur to support UNAMID

13 October 130 officers from an Indonesian Police Unit have arrived in Darfur to strengthen the efforts of the joint United Nations-African Union (UNAMID peacekeeping force. The Indonesian contingent, which has received special training in high risk operations, will be based in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur and headquarters of UNAMID.
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