ICC prosecutor warns of war crimes committed in Darfur's al-Fashir

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By Stephanie van den Berg

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor is urgently investigating allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Darfur city of al-Fashir which has become a new front between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

In a video statement released on Tuesday, prosecutor Karim Khan said the ICC has an active investigation into possible atrocity crimes being committed at present in Darfur.

"I am extremely concerned about allegations of widespread international crimes being committed in al-Fashir and its surrounding areas, as we speak," Khan said, adding that his office was investigating those allegations "with urgency".

His investigators had seen credible allegations of what looked like ethnically-motivated attacks against the civilian population, widespread use of rape and attacks against hospitals, he added.

Khan called for anyone with possible evidence, video or audio material to submit it to his office.

Al-Fashir, in the Darfur region of northwestern Sudan, is home to more than 1.8 million residents and displaced people, and is the latest front in a war between the Sudanese army and the RSF which began in April 2023.

The ICC can prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and in some cases the crime of aggression if committed on the territory of one of the court's 124 member states or by nationals of ICC members. It can also have jurisdcition through a referral by the United Nations Security Council, as happened with Darfur in 2005.

In January this year the ICC prosecutor told the U.N. security Council he believed war crimes were being committed in Darfur by government troops and the RSF in El Geneina.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)