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War Crimes In Darfur

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court says that he anticipates bringing war crimes charges against those who have committed atrocities in the Darfur region of Sudan. Luis Moreno Ocampo says his office is able to document thousands of killings of civilians, including "a significant number of large-scale massacres, with hundreds of victims in each incident."

According to Mr. Ocampo's report, a large number of victims and witnesses "reported that men perceived to be from the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa groups were deliberately targeted." The report says "there are eye-witness accounts that the perpetrators made statements reinforcing the targeted nature of the attacks, such as 'we will kill all blacks' and 'we will drive you out of this land'." Mr. Ocampo's probe finds evidence of atrocities committed by both the Sudanese government-backed Janjaweed militia and rebel forces.

Fighting broke out in Darfur in 2003, after rebels complained that the region had been marginalized by the central government. Rebels affiliated with the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement attacked Sudanese government facilities. The government-backed Janjaweed militia responded by attacking civilians in Darfur. Homes and farms were burned, wells poisoned, and women raped.

President George W. Bush says the situation in Darfur "remains dire":

"About two-hundred-thousand people have died from conflict, famine, and disease. And more than two-million were forced into camps inside and outside their country, unable to plant crops, or rebuild their villages. I've called this massive violence an act of genocide, because no other word captures the extent of this tragedy."

"The U.S. "will not turn away from this tragedy," says President Bush. He says the U.S. "will call genocide by its rightful name, and we will stand up for the innocent until the peace of Darfur is secured."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.