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Sudan leader faces Darfur war-crimes charges

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  • Sudan leader faces Darfur war-crimes charges

    Originally posted by AP
    THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The Netherlands-based International Criminal Court on Wednesday announced an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Darfur region a move that could provoke a violent backlash.

    But the three-judge panel said there was insufficient evidence to support charges of genocide.

    "He is suspected of being criminally responsible ... for intentionally directing attacks against an important part of the civilian population of Darfur, Sudan, murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians, and pillaging their property," court spokeswoman Laurence Blairon said.
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    Many observers are nervous about the fallout over the ICC's first warrant against a sitting head of state since it started work in 2002.

    ICC prosecutors accuse al-Bashir of ordering war crimes in Sudan's western region of Darfur, where the Arab-led government is trying to put down a rebellion by the ethnic African population. At least 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million driven from their homes in fighting since 2003.

    Refusal to cooperate with court
    Sudan does not recognize the court's jurisdiction and refuses to arrest suspects.

    If Al-Bashir is brought to trial and prosecuted, he faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

    Sudanese TV did not carry the Hague news conference, but at one point interrupted programming with a brief news report that the warrant had been issued. The broadcaster on state radio announced the decision, and added, "a new chapter now begins" but did not elaborate.

    In Khartoum, security was increased around many embassies, and some diplomats and aid workers stayed home Wednesday amid fears of retaliation against Westerners before the court's announcement. The ruling party announced that it plans a "million man march" in Khartoum on Thursday to protest any warrant.

    Asked why judges, in a 2-1 split decision, did not issue the warrant for genocide, Blairon explained that genocide requires a clear intent to destroy in part or as a whole a specific group.

    "In this particular case, the pretrial chamber has not been able to find there were reasonable grounds to establish a genocidal intent," she said.

    Al-Bashir remains defiant
    Ahead of the ICC announcement, the Khartoum government sought to show its confidence that it would not be shaken. Al-Bashir, meeting with the head of an American Christian humanitarian charity, gave a thumbs-up sign to reporters and said any attempt to prosecute him would have "no value."

    Al-Bashir denies the ICC's charges and refuses to deal with the court, and his government says it won't be affected by a warrant. Some Sudanese and international observers, however, fear that the government will feel threatened and lash out with violence in Darfur or in the country's other main area of tensions, the south, where a fragile 2006 peace treaty ended decades of civil war against the north.

    The leader of the southern autonomous government, Salva Kiir, urged the northern government to cooperate with the ICC and offered to mediate a way for Khartoum to work with the court without compromising peace and stability.

    Referring to al-Bashir as "brother," Kiir said the president has borne the accusations with "fortitude" and should "react with statesmanship" to any warrant, without resorting to demonstrations. "We must continue to assure the security and safety of every citizen and foreign resident in the Sudan," said Kiir, who is also al-Bashir's vice president under the peace deal, in a statement late Tuesday.

    In Darfur on Wednesday, increased Sudanese security forces patrolled one of the region's main towns, El-Fasher, and were posted to protect the headquarters of U.N.-African Union peacekeepers. Warplanes streaked across the skies over the town, peacekeepers said. Aid workers in Darfur said they were remaining in their homes.

    One Darfur rebel commander, Suleiman Sandal of the Justice and Equality Movement, warned the government against any increase of violence, saying his forces were ready to retaliate. "We are able to handle, to reach any place and any person," Sandal said from Darfur.

    The Sudanese capital Khartoum remained bustling as usual. But security was beefed up around a number of European embassies. Camouflaged Sudanese security vehicles were parked outside embassy premises, and armed gunmen took cover under tree branches outside their offices.

    Most embassy staff went to work as usual, but a few opted to work from home. A U.N. official said they advised their Sudanese staff to go home early to avoid getting caught in any protests.

    He and other officials at Western embassies, as well as aid workers and peacekeepers, spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the situation.

    One Western embassy official, like many other diplomats, was shopping with family to stock up on supplies.

    "From here till Sunday, we stay home. It is safer that way," he said.
    Well lets see what everyone thinks....

    ~ Draken

  • #2
    Re: Sudan leader faces Darfur war-crimes charges

    What do I think? It's about time. Unfortunately, the ICC's charges are rarely enforced.


    • #3
      Re: Sudan leader faces Darfur war-crimes charges

      The guy being charged here is a scumbag, no questions asked, but I don't hold a lot of confidence in the ICC either. Who really has the authority to bring charges like this anyway? The government al-Bashir was a part of while committing these terrible acts is still extant, and still has jurisdiction over its own territory.




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