ICC prosecutor applies for warrant to arrest Sudan president

[JURIST] International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] applied for an arrest warrant [application, PDF; ICC press release] Monday for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile, JURIST news archive] on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes for atrocities committed in the country's Darfur region [JURIST news archive]. The application follows a three-year investigation into atrocities and genocide in Darfur that began with the referral of the situation to the Office of the Chief Prosecutor in 2005 [JURIST report]. Since then, the Office of the Prosecutor has gathered eyewitness and victim statements, taken testimony from Sudanese government officials, and examined material provided by the UN and other aid organizations in order to build evidence to support the charges against al-Bashir. The summary of the charges against al-Bashir notes:

The evidence establishes reasonable grounds to believe that AL BASHIR intends to destroy in substantial part the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups as such. Forces and agents controlled by AL BASHIR attacked civilians in towns and villages inhabited by the target groups, committing killings, rapes, torture and destroying means of livelihood. AL BASHIR has thus forced the displacement of a substantial part of the target groups and attacked them in the camps for internally displaced persons (“IDPs”), causing serious and bodily harm – through rapes, tortures and forced displacement in traumatizing conditions – and deliberately inflicting on a substantial part of those groups conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction.

AL BASHIR’s conduct simultaneously constitutes genocide against the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups, crimes against humanity and war crimes against any civilian population in the area, including members of the target groups. [sic]
The indictment and charges against Al-Bashir mark the first time a sitting head of state has been charged with genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity by the ICC. BBC News has more. The New York Times has additional coverage.

News of Monday's hearing [JURIST report] began circulating Friday. The Sudanese government has already rejected the ICC's jurisdiction and has refused to surrender two previously-named war crimes suspects [JURIST report]. Hundreds of thousands of people have allegedly been killed in Darfur by Sudanese military and janjaweed [Slate backgrounder] militia forces. The investigation that resulted in Monday's charges, which involved more than 100 witnesses in 18 countries, led Moreno-Ocampo to state before the UN Security Council [official website] in June that “evidence shows that the commission of such crimes on such a scale, over a period of five years, and throughout Darfur, has required the sustained mobilization of the entire Sudanese state apparatus.” The Security Council has repeatedly called on Sudan to comply with the ICC investigation [JURIST], but Sudan has refused to do so, calling Moreno-Ocampo a "terrorist" [JURIST report] and suggesting that he should be removed from office.

 

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