ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrant for Sudanese president: US State Department
ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrant for Sudanese president: US State Department

[JURIST] International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST news archive] chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] will seek a warrant to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile], according to statements [press briefing; video] made Friday by US State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack. Moreno-Ocampo is expected to present evidence [ICC media advisory] of human rights crimes allegedly committed in the Sudanese region of Darfur [JURIST news archive]. Sudanese Foreign Affairs Minister Al-Samani al-Wasila counseled against the indictment, asserting that it would destroy the country's peace process. Sudanese Ambassador to the UN Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamed told reporters [AP report] that

If you indict our head of state, the symbol of our country, the symbol of our dignity, then the sky's the limit for our reactions … It will have far-reaching, bad implications for the entire country.

In his comments, McCormack warned the Sudanese government not to respond with violence, reminding the country of its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions [JURIST report] as well as the Vienna Convention [text]. AFP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.

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] milita 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.”