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ICC opens new probe into Sudan

July 14, 2023 at 1:30 pm

Karim Khan, the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor holds a press conference in Khartoum, Sudan on August 12, 2021. [Mahmoud Hjaj – Anadolu Agency]

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened an investigation into alleged war crimes in Sudan, its Chief Prosecutor, Karim Khan, said yesterday in his briefing to the UN Security Council.

“The office can confirm that it has commenced investigations in relation to incidents occurring in the context of the present hostilities,” Khan said. ICC prosecutors are “closely tracking reports of extrajudicial killings, burning of homes and markets and looting, in Al Geneina, West Darfur, as well as the killing and displacement of civilians in North Darfur and other locations across Darfur.”

Khan told the UN that his office is also examining “allegations of sexual and gender-based crimes, including mass rapes and alleged reports of violence against and affecting children.”

The ICC has been investigating crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region since 2005 after a referral by the UN Security Council. In support of its latest probe into the current hostilities, the ICC said that it has been engaging with relevant counterparts in order to allow the Hague body to closely monitor the developing situation and collect relevant information.

Yesterday, the UN has warned of possible new massacres in Darfur. It revealed that the bodies of at least 87 people allegedly killed last month by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and their allies had been buried in a mass grave in Darfur.

The ICC has four outstanding arrest warrants related to the earlier fighting in Darfur between 2003 and 2008, including one against former Sudanese President Omar al Bashir on charges of genocide.

Since 15 April, the Sudanese Armed Forces, led by chief of staff, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, and the RSF, led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (known as Hemedti) have engaged in military clashes over power. The fighting is reported to have left more than 3,000 civilians dead, tens of thousands injured and displaced more than 2.2 million people.

Khan is also under pressure to open a probe into Israel war crimes. Since replacing his predecessor, Fatou Bensouda, the probe into alleged Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity has stalled.

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