UN report: war crimes in Darfur

The UN Human Rights Council High Level Mission to Sudan has delivered a critical report, accusing the Sudanese government of orchestrating “gross and systematic” human rights abuses in Darfur, and decrying that the international response has been “inadequate and ineffective.” The five-member panel also urged that leaders of Sudan’s government and militias be charged with war crimes. “The principal pattern is one of a violent counterinsurgency campaign waged by the government…in concert with Janjaweed militia and targeting mostly civilians,” the report found. “Rebel forces are also guilty of serious abuses of human rights and violations of humanitarian law.” Khartoum is organizing opposition to the mission’s report. The Human Rights Council in Geneva will now consider adopting the report, but Sudan and its allies are trying to thwart it. Khartoum had blocked the team that wrote the report, led by 1997 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams, from visiting Darfur, so the mission had to rely on interviews with refugees across the border in Chad. (UPI, March 12; The Guardian, LAT, March 13)

See our last posts on the Darfur and the Sahel crisis.