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Sudan: Refer crimes to ICC but grant no immunity, says Amnesty

But the organisation warned of a dangerous precedent that could be set if peacekeepers from states that have not ratified the Rome Statute are granted immunity.

Amnesty's call came as the House of Commons International Development Committee said the world's response to the Darfur crisis has been "scandalously ineffective" and that the likely death toll is far higher than existing estimates.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

"The ICC provides the best chance we have of justice for Darfur – an opportunity for the world to show that it has the means and the will to combat the horrific crimes that have taken place.

"If the Security Council today fails to take advantage of this opportunity, they will have failed tens of thousands of victims in Darfur.

"But there should be no exceptions. Justice should apply equally to all, and the French proposals must not be watered down."

Amnesty International is seriously concerned that the current draft resolution seeks to give impunity from prosecution for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes to nationals from countries that have not ratified the Rome Statute of the ICC, and who are sent to Sudan to participate in a UN operation.

This provision would, if included in a referral, be contrary to the Rome Statute, to the Charter of the United Nations and to other international law.

Amnesty International is also concerned that some other members of the Security Council are reportedly discussing an amendment to the French proposal that would further broaden the scope of the proposed impunity provision and extend it until 2009, the date that states parties to the Rome Statute are scheduled to review it to determine whether any amendments are needed.

For the sake of justice for the victims of the grave human rights abuses committed in Sudan, Amnesty International calls on all Security Council members to resist any attempts to broaden the impunity provisions in the French proposal.

Security Council members must respect the fundamental principle of equality of all before the law by not establishing exceptions to international justice.

The organisation has long campaigned for a referral of the crimes committed in Sudan to the ICC Prosecutor as a first step towards bringing justice to Sudan after two decades of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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