International Criminal Court seeks more material on Darfur arrest warrant

16 October 2008

The pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has given prosecutors one month to submit additional materials related to their request for an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for alleged war crimes, including genocide, in the strife-torn Darfur region.

In July, prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo presented evidence against Mr. al-Bashir for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide allegedly committed by him though members of the State apparatus, the army and militiamen known as the Janjaweed.

Some 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed across Darfur, an impoverished and arid region of western Sudan, as a result of direct combat, disease or malnutrition since 2003. Another 2.7 million people have been displaced because of fighting among rebels, Government forces and the Janjaweed.

This is the second case arising from the situation in Darfur, which was referred to The Hague-based Court by the Security Council in 2005.

On Tuesday, the ICC pre-trial chamber issued a decision requesting prosecutors submit the additional supporting material relating to the arrest warrant by 17 November.

The pre-trial chamber issued arrest warrants in May 2007 for Ahmad Harun, former Sudanese Minister of State for the Interior and now the Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, and Ali Kushayb, a Janjaweed leader.

Last month, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo urged international leaders to better protect civilians in Darfur and allow the ICC to successfully prosecute crimes committed in the war-torn Sudanese region.

“We presented a solid case. The evidence shows that crimes against Darfurians continue today,” Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said.

Sudan’s President “has complete control of his forces, and they are raping women today, they are promoting conditions in the camps to destroy complete communities and they are still bombing schools,” he added.

In a related development, the head of the UN-African Union (AU) hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known as UNAMID, today attended the opening session of the Initiative of the People of Sudan for Solving the Darfur issue in the capital Khartoum.

Along with UNAMID Joint Special Representative Rodolphe Adada, others in attendance at the gathering included Amr Musa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States; and Jean Ping, AU Chairperson.

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Darfur: UN police conduct night patrols at displaced persons’ camp

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