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Luis Moreno-Ocampo

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4 Mar, 2009

ICC charges with war crimes

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The ICC upholds the request of the chief prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo, to charge Bashir with war crimes and crimes against humanity. Moreno-Campo claimed 35,000 violent deaths were caused by Bashir’s government arming, training, and financing bands of Arab nomads to attack villages across Darfur, killing, raping and looting as they went. The army provided air and ground support. He also alleged Bashir committed genocide by trying to eliminate the Fur, Marsalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups, whom Bashir deemed supportive of the rebels. Moreno-Campo:

More than 30 witnesses will [testify] how he [Bashir] managed to control everything, and we have strong evidence of his intention.

While the judges dismiss the genocide charge, they indict Bashir on five counts of crimes against humanity: murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape. The two counts of war crimes are for directing attacks on the civilian population and pillaging. Bashir is the first national leader to be charged by the court. All states would be asked to execute the arrest warrant and if Sudan fails to cooperate the matter will be referred to the UN security council.

Sudan does not recognise the ICC, and Bashir says the court can “eat” the arrest warrant, which he describes as a western plot to hinder Sudan’s development. A Bashir aide describes the charges as:

neo-colonialism … They do not want Sudan to become stable.