Darfur 'abuses' blamed on leaders
|The Daily Telegraph, 12 Décembre 2005|
Senior members of Sudan's government, including the president, are responsible for "widespread and systematic abuses" in Darfur, according to a report released last night by Human Rights Watch.
The New York-based organisation claims President Omar al-Bashir played a pivotal role in organising an "ethnic cleansing" campaign by an Arab militia called Janjawid, which was ordered to attack non-Arab civilians in the western province.
Bashir's public statements were "precursors to the call to arms and peaks in the violence", the report says. "No doubt [they] echoed private directives given to the civilian administration, military and security services."
A Sudanese government spokesman refused to comment on the report.
Several other top-level government figures, including vice-president Ali Osman Taha and defence minister Maj Gen Abduraheem Mohammed Hussein, are also accused by the watchdog.
Tens of thousands of Sudanese have been killed since a revolt in Darfur began in early 2003 by villagers who accused the government of neglect and repression.
The report asserts that Khartoum armed the Janjawid militia and drafted them into police and other security forces as they looted, raped and drove two million people from their homes.
Over the past two years the Khartoum government has vigorously denied its affiliation with the Janjawid and set up its own special courts to try suspects.
But Human Rights Watch claims the government has made no "genuine" effort to prosecute those responsible.
The report was prepared for the International Criminal Court, mandated since March to hunt down those alleged to have committed abuses.
Sanctions threatened by the UN Security Council have yet to materialise.