HL Deb 09 February 2005 vol 669 cc114-5WA
Lord Avebury

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will ascertain why the report of the panel appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General in accordance with Security Council Resolution 1564 was not published on 25 January as anticipated; what conclusion the panel reached on the reports of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights and alleged acts of genocide in Darfur: whether it identified the perpetrators of such violations; and what measures they will propose to the Security Council to ensure that those responsible are held accountable. [HL1045]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

We understand that due to technical difficulties the United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) first received the report of the International Commission of Inquiry (ICI) on 26 January. He released the report to United Nations Security Council (UNSC) members on 31 January. The report concludes that the government of Sudan, the Arab militias and the rebels are all guilty of serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law, which may amount to crimes against humanity and/or war crimes. The report also found that the government of Sudan has not pursued a policy of genocide in Darfur, although a "competent court" will need to decide whether certain individuals have done so. The report stresses that the crimes which have taken place in Darfur "may be no less serious and heinous than genocide" and recommends that the crimes should be referred to the International Criminal Court.

The ICI has given the UNSG a list of suspects it believes may have perpetrated these crimes, and recommends that he pass this list to a competent prosecutor. The UNSC is united in its determination that there can be no impunity for these crimes and will be discussing the next steps over the coming days.