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Darfur prosecutor accuses rebels of recruiting child soldiers

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March 30, 2016 (EL-FASHER) - The Special Prosecutor of Darfur Crimes Al-Fatih Mohamed Tayfor has accused rebel movements of abducting children and forcing them to engage in military activities.

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A child looks inside a shelter at Sakale Wali IDPs camp in the South Darfur town of Nyala May 29, 2010. (Reuters)

He said in press statements Wednesday in the capital of North Darfur state, El-Fasher that his court received complaints that children were compelled to engage in direct military work or forced labour such as serving food and drinks and washing clothes.

Tayfor pointed that the armed movements violate all international conventions and international humanitarian law and the 2010 Child Act by continuing to recruit children.

He added that charges against 30 children have been dropped after the medical examination proved that they are under-age, saying they have been handed over to the child prosecution office to take the appropriate measures.

Darfur Special Criminal Court was first set-up by the Sudanese government in 2005 to adjudicate cases of crimes in the western region. However, the court has to date failed to bring charges against any Sudanese official.

Meanwhile, Tayfor said that his office was represented in Sudan’s delegation to the 31st session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva to review Sudan’s efforts to achieve justice and accountability in Darfur.

He disclosed that the Darfur criminal court has so far examined 20 cases, pointing that 8 cases have been adjudicated. He said the punishments ranged between death sentences and extended periods of imprisonment.

He said that his office continues to investigate various cases including major ones such as Gouz Dango and Fanga which were referred to court last week, pointing the first court session would be held on 16 April at the Darfur criminal court in Khartoum.

It is noteworthy that the leaders of Darfur’s main rebel including the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Sudan Liberation Movement - Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM/AW) and Sudan Liberation Movement - Minni Minnawi (SLM/MM) agreed on the need to exert more efforts to protect children in the conflict areas and to adhere to the existing international standards.

They made their commitment at the end of a consultations meeting held in Stadtschlaining, Austria, on 27-28 May 2015.

It was organised by the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR) in coordination with the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG-CAAC).

(St)

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