Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday that abuses by government-supported Arab militias in Sudan qualify as genocide against the black African population in the Darfur region — a determination that should pressure the government to rein in the fighters.

Powell told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the conclusion was based on interviews conducted with refugees from the Darfur violence as well as other evidence.

“We concluded that genocide has been committed in Darfur and that the government of Sudan and the Janjaweed (Arab militias) bear responsibility — and genocide may still be occurring,” he said.

No doubt the government of Sudan can count on French support, though.