UN: An Irish human rights consultant is to travel to Sudan shortly as part of a United Nations mission to identify perpetrators of genocide in the Darfur region.
Gerard McHugh has been appointed by UN secretary general Kofi Annan to a four-person panel charged with identifying individuals on whom sanctions should be imposed.
However, the sanctions process has been bedevilled by delays and disputes, with the UN Security Council taking over three months to agree on membership of the panel
Mr McHugh, who has carried out previous assignments for the UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, will sit alongside experts from the Netherlands, Jamaica and Zambia.
On March 29th, the Security Council voted 12-0, with China, Russia and Algeria abstaining, to impose a travel ban and an asset freeze on those responsible for atrocities against civilians in Sudan's Darfur region. More than three months on, no list of perpetrators has been drawn up yet.
The sanctions were to come into effect in 30 days after a list of offenders had been agreed on by a Security Council committee that Mr Vassilakis heads.
At first the UN Secretariat had problems identifying experts, with two of those chosen turning down the offer. Then they said China objected to candidates on various grounds, including lack of experience
The council's resolution, drafted by the United States, called for the experts to travel regularly to Darfur and other places in Sudan and to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the African Union is based, to monitor requirements in the resolution
The Sudan delay was first raised last month by Human Rights Watch, which asked why the Security Council was "lagging behind" in its work
The Security Council has asked the International Criminal Court to begin an investigation of the main perpetrators.