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news - Darfur Rebel Group Rejects AU Panel Report

october 28th, 2009

"A major rebel group on Tuesday rejected an African Union report on solving the six-year conflict in Darfur.

The report by a panel of African 'wise men,' headed by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, recommended the establishment of a special court, including foreign judges, to try those charged with atrocities in Darfur.

The Justice and Equality Movement, the most powerful rebel group in Darfur, said serious crimes committed there should be tried by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

'The report is not clear in what they are saying about the ICC,' said JEM spokesman Ahmed Adam. 'Concerning the serious crimes in Darfur, including genocide, the only legal mechanism ... is the ICC.'

The ICC in March issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, saying he was wanted for war crimes in Darfur.

The AU report did not go into the question of Bashir's arrest warrant, saying only that the ICC investigations should be discussed during peace talks on Darfur.

Khartoum is saving its reaction for discussions at an AU meeting in Nigeria on Thursday, attended by Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha.

But a government source told Reuters the initial feeling was one of 'cautious welcome but with reservations on some details.'"

MORE: "Darfur rebel group rejects AU panel report" (Reuters)

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