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Sudan seeks Arab League talks over possible ICC warrant to arrest president

[JURIST] Sudan has asked the Arab League [official website, in Arabic] to convene emergency crisis talks concerning a possible International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST news archive] arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile]. The Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa [offical profile] has agreed to hold the requested meeting, although no time or date has been set. ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] is expected to seek the warrant Monday [JURIST report], based on human rights crimes that Bashir allegedly committed in the Sudanese region of Darfur [JURIST news archive]. News of the proposed warrant was first announced by US State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack, who confirmed the Monday hearings during a press briefing on Friday. Reuters has more. AFP has additional coverage.

Sudanese officials, including Foreign Affairs Minister Al-Samani al-Waila and Ambassador to the UN Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamed, responded angrily [AP report] to news of the arrest warrant. An indictment would mark the first-ever ICC effort to charge a sitting head of state with crimes against humanity and genocide. The Sudanese government has already rejected the ICC's jurisdiction and refuses 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. An ongoing probe said to involve 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.”

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