Man with no nightmares

ACCUSED: Ahmed Haun, the former Sudanese junior interior minister responsible for the western Darfur region. PIc. Abd Raouf. 27/02/07. © AP.
ACCUSED: Ahmed Haun, the former Sudanese junior interior minister responsible for the western Darfur region. PIc. Abd Raouf. 27/02/07. © AP.

A Sudanese minister accused of war crimes in Darfur by the International Criminal Court (ICC) has dismissed the allegations as false and politically motivated.

A Sudanese minister accused of war crimes in Darfur by the International Criminal Court (ICC) has dismissed the allegations as false and politically motivated.

"I can defend myself and I am not worried at all," Sudan's secretary of state for humanitarian affairs, Ahmed Haroun, said on Tuesday.

"My conscience is at rest and I do not feel guilty because I acted within the legal framework and in accordance with the general interest," he said.

Haroun, a former interior minister in charge of Darfur, was one of two men accused by ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo of 51 crimes against humanity and war crimes - including murder, torture and mass rape.

The other accused is Ali Kosheib, a militia leader detained in November.

The accusations were the first by the ICC over the atrocities committed in Darfur, where at least 200000 people have been killed and about 2,5million displaced since the conflict erupted four years ago.

The Arab Muslim government and the Janjaweed militiamen it supports have imposed a reign of death and terror on the black Muslims and animists of the south.

Sudanese justice minister Mohammed Ali al-Mardhi said the ICC had no jurisdiction to try any Sudanese for any crime.

But Moreno-Ocampo stressed that the cases, which were referred to the court by the UN Security Council, could be heard by the ICC because the Sudanese justice system was not investigating the same crimes.

The prosecutor has sent a 100-page document outlining the evidence to the judges who must decide if there are sufficient grounds to issue a summons or an arrest warrant for Haroun and Kosheib.

The Human Rights Watch group said the naming of the Darfur suspects sent a signal to Khartoum and the Janjaweed militia leaders that "they are not going to get away with these unspeakable atrocities".

Moreno-Ocampo focused his 20-month investigation on events alleged to have occurred between 2003 and 2004.

Haroun said he would accept any decision by the Sudanese government and vowed he would display the same "heroic attitude" as the hanged Iraqi president Saddam Hussein if he had to answer to an international court.

ICC prosecutors said Haroun recruited, funded and armed the Janjaweed. - Sapa-AFP

X