International court calls for cooperation over possible atrocities in Sudan

International court calls for cooperation over possible atrocities in Sudan

'I am extremely concerned about allegations of widespread international crimes being committed in Al Fasher and its surrounding areas,' says ICC prosecutor

By Aysu Bicer

LONDON (AA) - The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor has launched an urgent appeal for information and cooperation regarding allegations of international crimes being committed in Darfur, Sudan, including in the city of Al Fasher.

In a video statement on X, Karim Khan stressed the need for all victim groups, civil society groups, national authorities, and international partners to engage with his office to provide evidence and material related to the ongoing atrocities against the civilian population in Darfur.

Khan's call to action follows a referral by the UN Security Council highlighting the seriousness of the situation. “We have an ongoing, active investigation in relation to this situation,” Khan said.

He added: “The terrible events in West Darfur, including El Geneina in 2023, are among our key investigative priorities. Additionally, I am extremely concerned about allegations of widespread international crimes being committed in Al Fasher and its surrounding areas.”

To address these concerns, the ICC has deployed investigative teams in Chad, Port Sudan, and other regional locations to gather crucial evidence.

Khan underscored the importance of collecting relevant and reliable information to support potential applications for arrest warrants against those most responsible for the violations.

Khan painted a grim picture of the current situation in Darfur, saying: “The information being collected by my office on a daily basis from Darfur seems to disclose an organized, systematic, and profound attack on human dignity.” He added: “The evidence shows credible, repeated, expanding, and continuous allegations of attacks against the civilian population, particularly targeting camps for internally displaced persons.”

The prosecutor highlighted several specific atrocities, including the widespread use of violence, the shelling of civilian areas, looting of properties, and attacks on hospitals.

He expressed particular concern over the ethnically motivated nature of these attacks against the Masalit and other communities.

“This is a crisis by any benchmark, that unfortunately, seems to be accelerating and deepening. The suffering being endured is widening, and we cannot say that there has been no warning,” Khan said.

Khan's appeal comes in the wake of his previous warnings to the Security Council last July and this January.

During these briefings, he stressed the severity of the human tragedy unfolding in Darfur, drawing from his direct experiences meeting with those impacted by the conflict on the Chad-Darfur border.

He reiterated the need for assistance to accelerate the ICC investigations, urging: “I wish to call upon your help, to seek your assistance to further accelerate our work so the law is felt by those that desperately need it right now. We are on the precipice of something even worse.”

Efforts to end the war in Sudan, which began in April 2023, have all failed to yield results.

According to the UN, the conflict in Sudan has resulted in over 16,000 deaths, displaced approximately 8.7 million people, and left over 25 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, making it one of the world's largest displacement and hunger crises.​​​​​​​

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