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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 May 2007, 09:08 GMT 10:08 UK
Sudan 'will defy Darfur warrants'
Ahmed Haroun
Ahmed Haroun was responsible for Darfur in 2003 and 2004
Sudan's government has dismissed the warrants of arrest issued by The International Criminal Court for two men suspected of war crimes in Darfur.

"Sudan is not a member of the Statute of Rome - it is not bound by the ICC," Foreign Minister Lam Akol told the BBC.

Humanitarian Affairs Minister Ahmed Haroun and Janjaweed leader Ali Muhammad Ali Abd al-Rahman, also called Ali Kushayb, are wanted on 51 counts.

Some 200,000 people have died in the four-year Darfur conflict, says the UN.

Mr Haroun was a minister responsible for the Darfur portfolio in 2003 and 2004.

According to the ICC he was responsible for organising and funding the Arab militia known as the Janjaweed.

Ali Kushayb is accused of ordering the murder, torture and mass rape of innocent civilians during attacks on villages near Kodoom, Bindisi Mukjar and Arawala in west Darfur.

Rhetoric

Mr Akol said that the Sudanese government's position was very clear and they would not co-operate any further with the ICC.

SUSPECTS' PROFILES
Ahmed Haroun
- In charge of Darfur in 2003 and 2004 as deputy interior minister
- ICC says his work included recruiting, funding and personally arming Janjaweed militia
- Quoted as saying that he had been given the authority to either kill or forgive in Darfur for the sake of peace and security
- As humanitarian affairs minister he oversees Darfur's 2m refugees
- Aid agencies accuse of him of hindering their efforts to access the displaced
Ali Kushayb
- Known as "colonel of colonels"
- Commanded thousands of Janjaweed in mid-2003
- Allegedly promoted and witnessed rape and torture as part of the war strategy
- The government say he has been in detention since November for Darfur attacks
- But witnesses told AP that he has been travelling in Darfur under police protection

"The ICC is a voluntary body. Countries that chose to join it are bound by it," he told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

He pointed out that even the United States was not an ICC member.

On Wednesday, when the warrants were issued, ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the BBC the government had a legal duty to arrest the men.

"It is not just about punishment - but also unveiling the truth. I have to be ready to prove my case beyond any doubt so I still have a lot of work to do," he said on the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

In February, the two men were named by the ICC as suspects in a total of 51 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity including the murder, rape, torture and persecution of civilians in Darfur.

Correspondents say the ICC moves have transformed a long-running disagreement with Khartoum into a head-on collision.

Mr Akol refused to comment on reports that Mr Kushayb is already in the custody of the Sudanese government for attacks committed in Darfur.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo has said his evidence relates to different incidents.

Earlier, Mr Haroun said the move against him was political and that he had a clear conscience.

In the past, Sudan has complained that the ICC has not indicted any Darfur rebels who it says are also guilty of murderous attacks.

More than 2m civilians have fled their homes in Darfur, with most now staying in insecure camps supported by humanitarian agencies, who complain of frequent harassment from the Sudanese authorities.




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Profiles of the men wanted for alleged war crimes



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