INTERNATIONAL: Sudanese President Charged with Genocide for War Crimes

The Birmingham Post (England), July 15, 2008 | Go to article overview

INTERNATIONAL: Sudanese President Charged with Genocide for War Crimes


The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court yesterday charged Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir with genocide.

The charge includes masterminding attempts to wipe out African tribes in Darfur with a campaign of murder, rape and deportation.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo is asking a three-judge panel to issue an arrest warrant for Al-Bashir to prevent the deaths of another 2.5 million people who are still under attack in Darfur from government-backed janjaweed militia.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo says he is undeterred by concern that his indictment might make conditions worse for the refugees and close Sudan's doors to relief agencies and peacekeeping troops.

He said that the genocide is continuing and must be stopped

Mr Moreno-Ocampo filed 10 charges: three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder. Judges are expected to take months to study the evidence before deciding whether to order Mr Al-Bashir's arrest.

Despite Mr Moreno-Ocampo's bold move, Mr Al-Bashir is unlikely to be sent to the court in The Hague soon. Sudan rejects the court's jurisdiction and refuses to arrest suspects.

It is the first time prosecutors at the world's first permanent global war crimes court have issued charges against a sitting head of state.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo's decision to go after Mr Al-Bashir is expected to cause further turmoil in Sudan and some analysts fear it could make life even worse for refugees living in Darfur's sprawling camps and reliant on humanitarian aid for food and water.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo said most members of the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic African groups were driven from their homes by Sudanese forces and the janjaweed in 2004. Since then, the janjaweed have been targeting the camps aiming to starve the refugees.

"These 2.5 million people are in camps. They (al-Bashir's forces) don't need gas chambers because the desert will kill them," he said.

The refugees "have no more water, no more food, no more cattle. …

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INTERNATIONAL: Sudanese President Charged with Genocide for War Crimes
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