UNITED NATIONS – Sudan has failed two major U.N. demands aimed at ending violence in its Darfur region — disarm militias and arrest groups attacking villagers, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Monday.
The report comes a week after a U.N.-appointed commission found evidence of mass killings and other atrocities in Darfur (search), but stopped short of labeling the violence genocide.
Over the last six months, Annan said in his report, fighting in western Darfur involving government forces, the Arab militiamen known as Janjaweed who back them, and other armed movements has continued and banditry and abductions have dramatically increased.
The U.N. chief said that as a result, the conflict has now affected 2.3 million civilians, more than one-third of Darfur's estimated population of 6 million before violence erupted two years ago. At least 70,000 people have died.
Annan's grim report — released on the eve of a Security Council meeting focusing on Sudan — details commitments the government has failed to keep, a lack of cooperation by rebels in peace talks, and increasing threats to humanitarian workers.
Sudan's first vice president, Ali Osman Mohammed Taha, and John Garang, head of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (search), who last month signed a peace deal ending the 21-year civil war in southern Sudan, are scheduled to brief the council at an open meeting Tuesday, along with Baba Gana Kingibe, the African Union envoy in Sudan.
Annan told reporters "it will be important" to have the parties in New York to discuss "the action they need to take on the ground to make it really hold."
"We also believe that the implementation ... will have a positive impact ... on the settlement of Darfur," he said.
Annan has asked the council to approve a 10,130-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission to enforce the north-south peace deal, but he stressed again Monday that efforts to monitor and verify the Jan. 9 agreement must include the separate Darfur crisis.
The Security Council is expected to discuss the committee's report on Darfur violence and a draft resolution to address Annan's request for the peacekeeping mission.
Council members are considering sanctions, an arms or oil embargo, and referrals to a war crimes tribunal. Many back the report's recommendation to present cases to the International Criminal Court, but the United States vehemently opposes the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal and is pressing instead for alleged perpetrators to be tried at a tribunal based in Arusha, Tanzania.
A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States is prepared "to shoulder a very large part" of the financial cost of a tribunal at Arusha, where leaders allegedly responsible for the 1994 Rwanda genocide are being prosecuted.
But Taha said Saturday that the Sudanese government will not send Sudanese citizens or officials suspected of Darfur war crimes charges to any international court.
The commission recommended that 51 Sudanese people — including high-ranking government officials, rebels and Janjaweed — stand trial at the International Criminal Court.
Annan's report said the government has made "little progress" in meeting its U.N. obligation to adopt measures to end impunity, investigate reports of human rights violations, and ensure that the accused are brought to justice without delay.
Since September, it said, there also has been no evidence of disarmament as the government promised.
"Disarmament and arrest of the perpetrators of these brutal acts is the single most important demand of the council and the clearest case of failure by the government to live up to its responsibilities," the report said.