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Sudan: UN expert urges investigation of recent attacks on civilians in Northern Darfur

GENEVA (14 September 2010) – The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohamed Chande Othman, called Tuesday on the Sudanese Government to conduct “as a matter of urgency a thorough and transparent investigation into the attack on civilians in North Darfur,” which resulted in the killing of dozens of civilians on 2 September.

“This incident should be investigated thoroughly and impartially and those responsible should be brought to justice,” Mr. Chande Othman said. He also urged the international community to continue its efforts to assist the African Union United Nations Hybrid Operation (UNAMID) force to provide effective protection to civilians, as mandated by the UN Security Council.

Mr. Chande Othman said that new information gathered over the past ten days appears to confirm initial reports that more than 37 people were killed and over 50 injured after a militia group, identified by several witnesses as Janjaweed, attacked civilians gathered in a marketplace in the village of Tabarat, in North Darfur.

“I am deeply disturbed about these killings which highlight the continuing deterioration of the situation in Darfur,” said the UN Independent Expert, who undertook his first fact-finding mission* to the country earlier this year (23 January to 11 February 2010).

Mr. Chande Othman also expressed concern that UNAMID teams that were dispatched to the area to assess the situation were initially prevented from reaching the village of Tabarat by Sudanese armed forces and an armed group.

Justice Mohamed Chande Othman was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in October 2009. As Independent Expert, he serves in his individual capacity, independently from any government or organization. The Independent Expert, is currently a Justice in the Court of Appeal of Tanzania, and formerly worked as Prosecutor-General in East Timor. He was also a member of the High Level Commission of Inquiry on Lebanon and Chief of Prosecutions at the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

(*) Check the end-of-mission statement by the Independent Expert (11/01/2010): http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=9813&LangID=E

OHCHR – Country Page: Sudan: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/SDIndex.aspx

For further information and media requests, please contact Joseph Bonsu (Tel. + 41 22 928 9417 / email : jbonsu@ohchr.org) or write to sudan@ohchr.org.