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Darfur arrests called 'window dressing'

Oct. 21, 2008 at 8:58 AM

NEW YORK, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- A U.S. human rights group says Sudan's recent legal moves against accused perpetrators of genocidal acts in Darfur is "window dressing."

"The Sudanese government is putting up more window dressing as part of its ongoing effort to block the investigations of the International Criminal Court," Georgette Gagnon, Africa director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement released from New York. "No one should be fooled by these moves."

The ICC prosecutor has requested an arrest warrant for Sudan President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes and genocide in connection with the actions of Islamic militias in Darfur province, which prosecutors say were supported by the Sudanese government as they allegedly carried out a campaign of killings and rape against black African tribes.

The United Nations has estimated that at least 400,000 people have died due to the militias' violence. Sudan officials this month said they have investigated militia commander Ali Kosheib, who is wanted by the ICC for war crimes.

"Even if the government were serious about prosecuting Kosheib, limitations in Sudanese law mean that he could not be tried for the full range of crimes, including crimes against humanity, that have been committed in Darfur," said Gagnon.

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