House of Lords written question – answered on 27 November 2013.

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Photo of Lord Ashcroft Lord Ashcroft Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are aware of any evidence that the Justice and Equality Movement in Sudan has been guilty of war crimes or the mistreatment of prisoners.

Photo of Baroness Warsi Baroness Warsi Senior Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Jointly with the Department for Communities and Local Government), Senior Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Faith and Communities) (also in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

In its final report from January 2005, the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur concluded that:

“While the Commission did not find a systematic or a widespread pattern to violations committed by rebels, it nevertheless found credible evidence that members of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) are responsible for serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law which may amount to war crimes. In particular, these violations include cases of murder of civilians and pillage.”

These allegations were subsequently investigated by the International Criminal Court, and cases were brought by the prosecutor against a number of individuals, including former commanders in the JEM. The Court decided not to proceed with one of these cases, but another still remains before the Court.

The JEM continues to carry out military activities in Darfur and elsewhere in Sudan, and holds some defectors from the movement as prisoners. While there are reports of activities by the movement that could be contrary to international law, for example attacks on civilians or on peacekeepers, it is difficult to ensure independent investigation of such allegations and so to attribute responsibility for attacks to particular armed groups.

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