UN SG establishes international commission of inquiry for Darfur


The Secretary-General has today announced the establishment of an international commission of inquiry to investigate reports of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law, and to determine whether or not acts of genocide have occurred in Darfur, Sudan. By its resolution 1564 (2004), adopted on 18 September 2004, the Security Council requested the Secretary-General to establish the Commission of Inquiry.

The international Commission will comprise five members: Antonio Cassese of Italy, as Chairman; and the other members being Mohammed Fayek of Egypt, Diego Garciá-Sayán of Peru, Hani Jilani of Pakistan, and Thérèse Striggner Scott of Ghana. Dumisa Ntsebeza of South Africa will serve as Executive Director and will, in that capacity, head the technical team supporting the Commission.

Mr. Cassese is a prominent judge who was elected as the first President of the International Criminal Tribunal of the Former Yugoslavia. Mr. Fayek, currently Secretary-General of the Arab Organization for Human Rights, is a renowned human rights expert. Mr. Garciá-Sayán is a distinguished jurist and former Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Justice of Peru. Ms. Jilani is the Secretary-General's Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders. She is a practising lawyer in Lahore, Pakistan, specializing in human rights issues. In 1980, she founded the first women's law firm in Pakistan. Ms. Striggner Scott has a distinguished legal and diplomatic career. A former High Court Judge, she serves, since 2000, as Chairperson of the Ghana Law Reform Commission. Mr. Ntsebeza, a noted human rights lawyer in South Africa, served as a commissioner of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as head of that Commission's Investigative Unit and Witness Protection Programme.

Three members of the Commission and the Executive Director, who could come to New York on very short notice, will meet with the Secretary-General later today. The other two will join their colleagues shortly. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will provide support to the Commission.