The Sudanese parliament has unanimously ratified a peace deal with southern rebels that the government signed last month to end two decades of civil war.

The Khartoum government agreed the formula with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on 9 January.

Under its terms, SPLM leader John Garang is to become first vice president and head an autonomous administration for the south during a six-year lead-up to a referendum on independence.

Yesterday, a UN commission report said that the Sudanese government had systematically abused civilians in Darfur, but had not pursued genocide in the conflict.

An estimated 70,000 people have died in the conflict and nearly two million have been displaced.

The commission said that some individuals, including government officials, may have committed 'acts with genocidal intent'.

The commission identified suspected perpetrators of atrocities in a sealed annex to the report, and said those responsible should be prosecuted at the International Criminal Court.

The US wants to set up a separate body to try those accused of crimes against humanity in Sudan.

Sudan has dismissed the UN report as one-sided. Justice Minister Ali Osman Yassin said the report was biased and unbalanced.