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A U.N. genocide expert is disappointed in Sudan's efforts to address crimes committed in the country's western Darfur region.

Juan Mendez, special adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the prevention of genocide, told reporters the Security Council's recent referral of Sudan to the International Criminal Court was not an option but a legal obligation.

Sudan said earlier this week it would not cooperate with the ICC.

The Darfur region has been marked by massive displacement, rights abuses and widespread killings.

"I have consistently stressed that ensuring accountability is an essential element of genocide prevention," said Mendez, who visited Darfur in September.

Asked whether the Khartoum government was living up to its pledges, he replied: "My impression is very discouraging, quite frankly. For months nothing was done about the literally hundreds of cases of destruction of villages."

He said the government's own special court had also produced "discouraging" results. "They have dealt with some cases that seem to be marginal to the serious events that happened in 2003 and 2004," he said.

He added that if Khartoum refuses to cooperate with the ICC then "the Security Council should take appropriate action." He did not elaborate

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