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Sudan Tribune

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Sudan to probe claims of rape published in UN’s report

September 13, 2007 (KHARTOUM) — The minister of Justice, Mohamed Ali al-Mardi, has formed a committee to probe claims included in a report of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) alleging rape of a number of women in the village of Deribat, Southern Darfur State, official SUNA said.

Five_of_seven_women.jpgThe UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNMIS gave, in a report issued on 20 August 2007, further details on women abducted, raped and kept as sex slaves following the December 2006 attacks on Deribat. A first report on the subject was published in April 2007.

The investigation committee is chaired by the legal advisor, Ahmed Ali, and includes the representatives of the Police forces, security, unit for combating violence against women and the government of Southern Darfur.

The minister set a one-month deadline for the committee as of the day it begins its work and to finalize its mission and to submit its report. The decision gave the authority of the minister of justice to the investigation committee in doing its task in accordance with the Act of 1925 and the Criminal Procedure Act for the year 1991.

He urged the authors of the UN report to cooperate with the investigation panel, and to provide it with any information in order to carry out its mission.

The Rapporteur of the Advisory Human Right Council, Abdelmoneim Mohamed Taha, said they requested the UNMIS to delay the publication of the content of the report till the setting up of a joint investigation committee of the mission and the Advisory Council for Human Rights. But, UNIMIS stated that the incident took place in December 2006.

Khartoum “must protect women and children from sexual and gender-based violence,” according to a statement accompanying the report, which was based partly on testimony given by victims and eyewitnesses during a field trip by UNMIS human rights officers.

The Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Louise Arbour called on the Sudanese Government to set up an independent investigation into the events that followed the attack on Deribat and eight other villages in the East Jebel Marra region of South Darfur state in late December 2006.

The OHCHR said these abuses may constitute war crimes before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and naming individuals who could be held responsible.

(ST)