Khartoum — The Special Prosecutor of Darfur Crimes, Ahmed Abdel-Motalib, announced on Tuesday that he has tendered his resignation to Sudan's president Omer Al-Bashir, less than six months since he was appointed to investigate crimes in the western region.
Abdel-Motalib told the Khartoum-based daily newspaper Al-Intibaha that he is waiting for Al-Bashir to accept the resignation for which he gave no reasons. He was appointed to his position on 10 January with the mandate to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Darfur since the outbreak of the most recent conflict there in 2003.
This is the second Darfur prosecutor to resign since the former prosecutor Abdel Daim Zumrawi quit in April 2011 citing "personal reasons".
The first Darfur prosecutor, Nimir Ibrahim Mohamed, was sacked by the justice minister in October 2010 after he attempted to investigate former minister and current governor of South Kordofan State, Ahmad Haroun, who is named by the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a suspect in Darfur crimes.
Insiders say that the work of the three Darfur prosecutors who were appointed to the position since its creation in 2010 was complicated by the pitfalls that attended any attempts to prosecute officials in question. They particularly point to the issue of immunities as the greatest obstacle to justice.
Sudan's Justice Minister Mohammed Bushara Dosa admitted in January 2012 that efforts to bring justice in Darfur were stymied by the immunities enjoyed by state officials. According to Dosa, "25 percent of Sudan's population has immunities."
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC in March 2005 after a U.N. international commission of inquiry concluded that the Sudanese judiciary is unwilling or unable to carry out credible prosecutions in the war ravaged region.
To date, The Hague-based tribunal charged three individuals from the government side including president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, Ahmed Haroun and militia leader Ali Kushayb.
All three face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity but Bashir is also wanted for genocide in connection with claims that he orchestrated a campaign to wipe out the African tribes of Fur, Zaghawa and Masaalit in Darfur.
Sudan has cooperated with the ICC until 2007 and allowed its teams to query several military and civilian officials. However, Khartoum later refused to recognize the court's jurisdiction and dismissed any talk about surrendering its citizens to the ICC.
U.N. officials estimate that as many as 300,000 people have died in Darfur since insurgents took up arms in 2003, accusing Khartoum of neglecting the arid region. Khartoum puts the death toll at around 10,000.