Bensouda wants Darfur peacekeepers probed

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has appealed to the UN to open investigations into the allegations of peacekeeper covering up crimes in Sudan's Darfur region.

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the Security Council to investigate the alleged complicity of the United Nations and African Union Mission in Darfur (Unamid) in the cover up.

Presenting a report on Darfur to the council, Ms Bensouda pointed out that Unamid “had been subject of manipulation, with the intentional effect of covering up crimes committed against civilians and peacekeepers, in particular those committed by the Government of the Sudan”.

“I called for a thorough, independent and public enquiry,” Ms Bensouda demanded.

“This Council and indeed the United Nations as a whole would take immediate and concrete steps to establish the full facts and take appropriate action if the allegations prove to be well founded,” she urged.

Several UNSC members supported the request for an investigation.

Last April, former Unamid spokeswoman Aicha Elbasri, revealed that the unit had misinformed the UN by withholding important details about Darfur.

Unamid has observed the government forces indiscriminately bombing entire villages, targeting civilian and military targets alike. However, these observations are never publically reported in the regular updates by the UN Secretary General to the UNSC,” Ms Elbasri claimed.

She reported that the UN peacekeeping mission did not tell the world that the Khartoum government failed to disarm the Janjaweed militias; that it, conversely, reintegrated them into paramilitary forces under new names, and let them continue committing their widespread, systematic attacks directed against the civilian population in Darfur.

Unamid, established in 2007, is charged with protecting civilians, securing humanitarian assistance, monitoring and verifying implementation of agreements, contributing to the promotion of human rights and the rule of law, and assisting an inclusive political process in Darfur.

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