Home | News    Saturday 17 July 2004

Sudan’s government forms committees to investigate rape in Darfur

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KHARTOUM, Sudan, July 17, 2004 (AP) — Sudan , under global pressure to end violence in its western provinces, ordered Saturday that committees of women judges, police officers and legal consultants investigate rape accusations and help victims through criminal cases.

Justice Minister Ali Mohammed Osman Yassin said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press that three committees - each composed of a female judge, a female police officer and a female legal consultant - would be appointed for the Darfur region.

The committees will be responsible for "enabling the women, the rape victims, to file their lawsuits," Yassin said. Women, he wrote, would be appointed "to preserve the local traditions."

International organizations have said countless women have been raped in Darfur during militia raids and clashes between nomadic Arab tribes and their African farming neighbors over Darfur’s dwindling water and usable land.

The government denies accusations it is involved in the militia attacks, in which hundreds of villages have been burned to the ground and their residents killed or scattered.

Yassin’s statement follows an agreement signed by the government and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to disarm the militias and deploy soldiers, facilitate aid and allow international troops and monitors into Darfur.

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