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Learning English - Words in the News
30 March, 2005 - Published 11:36 GMT
International action on Sudan
Janaweed militia, Sudan
Sudanese militia

The United Nations Security Council have voted to take action against people in Sudan who are involved in fighting in Darfur. However, the US disagrees with other countries about the possible use of the International Criminal Court to try war criminals. This report from Jonathan Beale:

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The United States has been pressing hard for international action on Sudan where government-sponsored militia have been fighting with rebels in Darfur. Washington has described the situation in Darfur, where tens of thousands have been killed, as genocide - a word the UN itself has avoided. On Tuesday night, the US successfully sponsored a Security Council resolution that will impose a travel ban and a freeze of assets on those individuals who violate the ceasefire or who commit atrocities. The resolution would also forbid the Khartoum government from carrying out offensive military flights into Darfur.

But the US is still locked in a dispute with other nations over how to deal with those accused of committing war crimes in Sudan. On Wednesday, France is expected to push for a Security Council vote that would open the way for the International Criminal Court in The Hague to oversee trials. The US has opposed such a move. Washington does not back the ICC out of a fear that the court could be used to prosecute US citizens for political reasons. But if France pushes ahead with the vote, it could force the US into a difficult position. America will not want to be accused of blocking international action aimed at bringing war criminals to justice.

Jonathan Beale, New York

Listen to the words

the mass killing of a whole race or community of people

a freeze of assets
to freeze someone's assets means to make their bank accounts and other finances unavailable

violate the ceasefire
break the agreement to stop fighting

acts of great cruelty or evil

offensive military flights
offensive can be used to mean unpleasant or causing offence. Here, in a military context, it means flights to attack the opposition

locked in a dispute
if you are locked in a dispute, you are heavily involved in a disagreement which is difficult to resolve

to push for
to strongly argue in favour of

to oversee
to watch to make sure something is done correctly. Here, to ensure that the trials are fair.

to back something means to support or encourage it, sometimes with money.

pushes ahead

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