Darfur war crimes to be tried in UN court
The UN Security Council has voted to let the International Criminal Court try people accused of committing war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region.
The resolution passed late Thursday after the United States agreed not to use its veto power â even though it opposes the UN court in The Hague.
In return, the U.S. wrung major concessions, including guarantees that any Americans participating in UN operations in Sudan wouldn't be prosecuted by the ICC or any other country's courts.
The resolution passed 11-0, with the United States, Algeria, Brazil and China abstaining.
Acting U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson said Washington still "fundamentally objects" to the court but wanted to see change in Sudan.
"It is important that the international community speak with one voice in order to help promote effective accountability," Patterson said.
The administration of President George W. Bush opposes the court because it says it fears political enemies might launch frivolous or politically motivated prosecutions against Americans.
Thursday's resolution marked the latest development in drawn-out efforts by the Security Council to deal with the crisis in Darfur.
Fighting between government-backed militias and rebels has killed about 180,000 in the region. As many as 350,000 people may have died of pneumonia, diarrhea and malnutrition and more than 1.2 million have been driven from their villages in the past 18 months alone.
Human-rights groups and other observers â including former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell â have condemned the violence as genocide.
Many have urged the UN to deploy a peacekeeping force to quell the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
But discussions at the Security Council have repeatedly been stalled by political wrangling, as the deaths continue.
On March 29, the Security Council voted to impose a travel ban and freeze assets of people who commit atrocities in Darfur.
- FROM MARCH 29, 2005: UN Security Council approves sanctions on Darfur offenders
A few days earlier, it unanimously approved a resolution to send 10,000 peacekeepers to southern Sudan, to monitor a peace deal that ended a 21-year civil war between the government and militants. But the troops won't be going to Darfur.