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ICC prosecutor accuses Sudan of blocking genocide inquiry

Chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] told the UN Security Council [official website] Thursday that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] is deliberately protecting those accused of committing genocide in Darfur [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Moreno-Ocampo said that violence has been ongoing and that hundreds of civilians have been killed [NYT report] and thousands displaced over the past six months. The prosecutor accused al-Bashir of ordering attacks on civilians and protecting those following his orders. Al-Bashir has been charged with genocide and crimes against humanity [JURIST reports], but has thus far avoided arrest.

Several African countries that are state parties to the ICC's Rome Statute [materials] have come under fire for allowing al-Bashir to attend events in their countries without arrest. Last week, the ICC asked the Central African Republic to take steps to arrest al-Bashir and transfer him to the court if he should enter the country for its independence celebrations. In August, Kenya welcomed al-Bashir to a celebration for the country's adoption of a new constitution [JURIST report]. The ICC reported Kenya [JURIST report] to the UN Security Council and the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute as a result of the country's failure to arrest al-Bashir. Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan [official profile; JURIST news archive] urged Kenya to reaffirm its commitment to the ICC [JURIST report]. The ICC also reported Chad [decision, PDF] for failing to arrest al-Bashir when he visited the country in July.

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