[JURIST] Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] on Thursday formally asked ICC judges to issue arrest warrants [ICC press release] for the leaders of rebel groups in Sudan's Darfur region [JURIST news archive]. Ocampo had said last Friday at a meeting of states party to the ICC treaty [press release; JURIST report] that he would seek the warrants. The arrest warrants sought [AP report] relate to a deadly September 2007 attack [BBC report] by anti-government rebels in Darfur against African Union (AU) [official website] peacekeeping troops. Speaking of the rebels, Ocampo told the ICC judges:
They planned, led their troops and directed the attack which killed 12 peacekeepers, severely wounded 8 others, and completely destroyed AMIS facilities and property, directly affecting aid and security for millions of people of Darfur who are in need of protection.
Darfur rebels from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) [advocacy website] promised [AFP report] Thursday to cooperate with the ICC, but denied that any of their leaders were the subjects of the warrants.
The warrants are the prosecutor's third line of inquiry into war crimes in Darfur, following the issuance of arrest warrants [ICC materials] last year for former Sudanese Minister of the Interior Ahmed Muhammad Harun and former militia leader Ali Kushayb [TrialWatch profiles], and the prosecutor's application last July for the issuance of an arrest warrant [JURIST report] for Sudan President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] for war crimes committed in Darfur.