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Darfurians sue icc prosecutor

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By Isma’il Kushkush
 Leaders from three Darfur tribes, said to be the victims of war crimes by the Khartoum government, are suing International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis-Moreno Ocampo for libel, defamation and igniting hatred and tribalism.

"We think that Ocampo’s claim that particular tribes are targeted is not true and will create more chaos," Abd Allah Ibrahim, a leader from the Fur tribes, told

On July 14, 2008, Ocampo filed charges against Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir accusing him of organizing a campaign of genocide in Darfur targeting three African ethnic groups, the Fur, the Masalit and the Zaghawa.

Ibrahim, the Fur leader, is an advisor on tribal reconciliation efforts in Darfur.

He has been working close with the Sudanese Lawyers Union on bringing a case against the ICC prosecutor.

"We were contacted by leaders of the Fur, Masalit, Zaghawa and other Native Administration leaders," says Emad El-Din Al-Fadani, an attorney with the Sudanese Lawyers Union.

"The tribal leaders said that they were harmed by Ocampo’s claim of organized genocide in Darfur," he added.

"They said that the charges will hurt the social fabric of Darfur and create more chaos."

Darfur has been ravaged by violence since 2003 when rebel groups took up arms accusing the Khartoum government of neglect and marginalization.

Over 2 million have been displaced because of the conflicts into internally displaced persons (IDP) and refugee camps.

The UN estimates that 300,000 have died in Darfur as a result of conflict, disease and malnutrition. The Sudanese government says that 10,000 have died.

Igniting Hatred

"The solution for the conflict in Darfur should be an internal Sudanese one," Malik, a leader of the Masalit tribes, told IOL.
Many fear Ocampo’s claim would ignite hatred and tribalism.

"It is as if he is saying that members of these tribes made a claim against Sudan," notes Ibrahim, the Fur leader.

"Our way of achieving justice for victims is different from the West. We have our traditional means, ‘urf, that we have inherited and are suffice to achieve justice."

Adam al-Malik, a leader of the Masalit tribes, agrees.

"Ocampo cannot help us from his ivory tower," he told IOL.

"Other tribes might think we are working with him and attack us. What will he do?"

"The solution for the conflict in Darfur should be an internal Sudanese one," he adds.

A two-page petition was filled in a Khartoum court against Ocampo and another is to be filled in a Dutch court. Ocampo resides in the Netherlands, where the ICC is based.

Al-Fadani, along with a team of lawyers, filed the case under articles 64, 66 and 159 of Sudanese law which address igniting hatred and tribalism, defamation and libel respectively.

"We will contact the Interpol to stop Ocampo.

"We will also contact countries that Sudan shares agreements with to exchange criminals," he adds.

Al-Fadani does not believe their case is a media stunt.

"We are very serious and we have a strong base for a case," he argued, adding that Ocampo could get a two-year jail term.
(islam on-line)