Sudan preemptively rejects Security Council resolution on war crimes extradition

Tuesday, March 29, 2005 In anticipation of a Security Council vote on trying alleged Darfur war criminals at the International Criminal Court, Sudan announced today it would reject any United Nations resolution that required war crimes suspects to be tried abroad. The resolution before the UNSC was drafted by the French delegation, and is expected to be voted on this week.

Sudanese foreign minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said, "Any resolution that is going to include the taking of a Sudanese — whether he is a rebel or government official — outside the Sudan: we are totally against it." In contrast, some rebel groups are in favor of the resolution. Tajeddin Nyam, of the rebel group "Justice and Equality of Movement," said he thought the resolution would contribute to peace.

Perhaps in an effort to avoid such extradition, Sudan has begun arresting officials in relation to human rights abuses in Darfur. Government officials announced that 15 members of the military and security forces in Darfur had been arrested this week, and were to be sent immediately to local courts.

The region of Darfur has been the center of civil strife for over two years, during which time tens of thousands of people in the black African population have been killed, and many more wounded or abused, by government-supported Arab militias. It has often been suggested that this qualifies as genocide, and that Darfur is enduring the world's most severe and localized abuse of civil rights.