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Al-Bashir will 'face justice' before ICC: president judge

[JURIST] The president of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] said Thursday that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] will eventually face justice [prepared remarks] in The Hague. Speaking in London before the British House of Commons [official website], Judge Sang-Hyun Song [official profile] addressed controversy [JURIST news archive] surrounding the ICC arrest warrant [JURIST report] issued one year ago:

The Rome Statute created the possibility for a political body – the Security Council – to refer situations to the Court. In the case of Darfur, this is what happened in March 2005. Once a situation comes before the Court, we must let justice follow its course. States must accept that judges cannot and will not take political considerations into account.

Responding to questions, Song went on to compare [Reuters report] the al-Bashir warrant with the successful surrender of Slobodan Milosevic [Guardian obituary; JURIST news archive] and Charles Taylor [case materials; JURIST news archive] to the international criminal tribunals. Addressing supporters, al-Bashir said that he would continue to travel [ST report] despite the warrant, though he declined an invitation to attend extraordinary summit of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) [official website] in Nairobi next week.

In February, the ICC Appeals Chamber ordered [JURIST report] the Trial Chamber to reconsider adding an additional charge of genocide to the al-Bashir warrant. 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 a source of tension, 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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