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ICC orders trial chamber to reconsider al-Bashir genocide charges

[JURIST] The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Wednesday reversed [decision, PDF; press release] a Pre-Trial Chamber decision that denied the application for an arrest warrant on genocide charges against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [JURIST news archive]. The court emphasized that the reversal was procedural in nature, and did not address the substantive question of whether al-Bashir is responsible for genocide. In its March 2009 decision [JURIST report], the Pre-Trial Chamber required the prosecution to demonstrate al-Bashir's genocidal intent using the "proof by inference" standard. The Appeals Chamber held that the standard used was inappropriate for the arrest warrant phase, which is governed by Article 58 [text] Rome Statute, but declined to enter a finding of genocidal intent or to order the Pre-Trial Chamber to issue a genocide warrant for al-Bashir, as requested [text] by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile]. The case has now been remanded back to the Pre-Trial Chamber to reconsider whether there was "reasonable grounds to believe" that al-Bashir acted with genocidal intent.

ICC prosecutors appealed the decision [JURIST report] not to charge al-Bashir with genocide in July. The warrant, which charges al-Bashir with seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, has been controversial [JURIST news archive], with Egypt, Sudan, the African Union [JURIST reports] and others calling for the proceedings against al-Bashir to be delayed, and African Union leaders agreeing [JURIST report] not to cooperate with the ruling. Al-Bashir is accused of systematically targeting and purging the Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa, three Arabic-speaking ethnic groups, under the pretext of counterinsurgency since 2003.

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