ICC prosecutor seeks evidence of war crimes in Darfur, Sudan | ICC News

Karim Khan's call comes 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 asked witnesses to submit evidence to assist in an urgent investigation opened by his office into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan's Darfur region.

Sudan has been mired in war since April last year, when a rivalry between the leaders of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) erupted into violence.

Four weeks of fighting in and around El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, has killed more than 190 people and injured 1,200, according to the medical charity Doctors Without Borders, known by its French acronym MSF.

“I am extremely concerned about allegations of widespread international crimes being committed in and around El Fasher,” ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said in a video statement on Tuesday, adding that the investigation “appears to reveal a process organized, systematic and profound”. attack on human dignity.”

His investigators had seen credible allegations of what appeared to be ethnically motivated attacks on civilians, widespread use of rape and attacks on hospitals, Khan said, and asked that anyone with possible evidence, video or audio material come forward. office.

Khan's statement came days after an RSF attack forced the closure of a main hospital in el-Fasher on Sunday. The group shot at and looted the hospital, MSF reported.

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

People in the city have called El-Fasher “a hell on Earth, where they could lose their lives at any moment,” Toby Harward, UN deputy humanitarian coordinator for Sudan, told Al Jazeera last month.

Previous atrocities

The ICC has long investigated atrocities in Sudan, dating back to a devastating earlier conflict in Darfur.

The court based in The Hague can prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and, in some cases, the crime of aggression if they are committed on the territory of one of the court's 124 member states or by nationals of members of the ICC. It may also have jurisdiction through a referral from the United Nations Security Council, as happened with Darfur in 2005.

The court has issued arrest warrants for former Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir on charges including genocide allegedly committed in Darfur between 2003 and 2008.

The RSF was born from the 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 referred to the earlier conflict in his message on Tuesday.

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

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