[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] announced [public notice, text] Monday that a long-awaited decision on a controversial arrest warrant [JURIST news archive] sought for Sudanese head of state Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] would be rendered on March 4. The court said that "[c]onsidering that there have been numerous rumors over the past weeks on the possible date and outcome of this decision [and that]… this Chamber is deeply concerned about such rumors…", it would issue its ruling on the matter publicly. Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that the warrant had been issued, leading court official to quickly issue a denial [JURIST report]. In an effort to promote Darfur peace talks, Egypt Sunday called on the ICC to postpone its decision [JURIST report] on the arrest warrant. Sudan and the African Union [JURIST reports] have also called for the proceedings against al-Bashir to be delayed.
The warrant ruling is in connection with preliminary charges [text, PDF] against al-Bashir filed by ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo in July 2008 alleging genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes committed in the Darfur region in violation of Articles 6, 7, and 8 of the Rome Statute [text]. 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. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has already urged al-Bashir to comply [JURIST report] with the forthcoming ICC decision.