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Sudan to charge 164 suspects with Darfur crimes

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KHARTOUM, Mar 27, 2005 (Xinhua) — Sudan will take 164 suspects to court, including some government officials, for alleged crimes such as rape and murder in the war-wrecked western region of Darfur, official media said here Sunday.

Six Sudanese men stand in the dock in a court in Nyala September 30, 2004, accused of belonging to the Arab militia. (Reuters).

The state SUNA news agency said a judicial commission of inquiry had charged the suspects. "All those suspects, including some government officials, will be sent to the judiciary to stand fair trials," Mohammed Abdel Rahim Ali, the panel chairman and also a high court judge, was quoted by the agency as saying in the North Darfur state capital of El Fasher.

He said 150 of the cases involved offenses in North Darfur and the rest 14 accusations were from South Darfur.

In a related development, the UN Security Council will debate Wednesday on a French draft resolution to charge 51 suspects with committing war crimes in Darfur at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

But Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said Sunday that the country would reject any UN resolution to prosecute Sudanese suspects of war crimes in a court aboard.

The United States has suggested a UN-African Union tribunal be held in Arusha, Tanzania.

Sudan, not a signatory to the ICC, would reject both resolutions, Ismali said.

"Both of them are not suitable to Sudan," he said. "Any resolution that is going to include the taking of a Sudanese — whether he is a rebel or government official — outside Sudan. We are totally against it."

Tens of thousands of people have been killed since an ethnic minority uprose in Darfur two years ago.

A UN commission said heinous war crimes had been committed in the region. It gave the UN secretary-general a list of 51 names of government and military officials, militia leaders and rebels whom it said should be referred to the ICC.

The UN Security Council has passed a resolution last week to deploy up to 10,000 UN peacekeepers in southern Sudan.

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