Justice Minister Ali Mohamed Osman Yassin the people had been arrested in Darfur for human rights abuses and would immediately be sent to court.

“They are military people … from army, military and security,” Yassin said, adding all the accused were from these “disciplinary forces”.

Official Sudanese media said Khartoum planned to try at least 164 suspects in Darfur.

The news comes two days before the United Nations Security Council is expected to vote on resolution which would send those responsible for war crimes in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Sudan opposes the idea of sending Sudanese nationals to a court outside Sudan, saying its judicial system is competent to prosecute those guilty of crimes.

“Now it is high time for us to prove ourselves and to prove how genuine we are and how seriously the Sudanese judiciary can do the job,” Yassin said.

“This is a start … it is not the end of it – they are progressing and doing a good job.”

The US, which had previously asked Khartoum to rein in its militia allies and stop the bloodshed in Darfur, reacted sceptically the report.

“In the past, nothing has been done to hold anyone accountable,” said Deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli.

“Our view is that if you want to have real accountability for the crimes that have been committed in Darfur, there has to be an international mechanism for that,” he told reporters.

“Based on their past performance, one cannot expect the government of Sudan to fulfil that responsibility.”

Washington has been pushing to set up a tribunal in Tanzania to prosecute alleged war crimes cases in Darfur.

Although an earlier enquiry determined that war crimes were likely committed in Darfur, the United States fiercely opposes the ICC.

It fears American soldiers could suffer politically motivated trials at the ICC levelled by those opposed to US policies.

Human rights groups have blamed Washington for blocking an ICC referral they say could help end the violence in Darfur, an area the size of France.

An estimated 180,000 have died and more than 1.8 million have been left homeless by the fighting in Darfur.

The Sudanese government has been accused of backing Arab militias, known as Janjaweed, who have committed atrocities such as systematic killing and mass rape against Darfur’s black African groups.

Khartoum denies backing the Janjaweed militias, and blames rebels for starting the conflict.

Sudan has arrested and convicted a small number of Janjaweed, but has not made significant steps to disarm Arab militias, as required by Security Council resolutions.

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