Genocide evidence presented against Sudanese President 14 Jul 2008
The ICC Prosecutor has presented evidence against Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide committed in Darfur.

Hassan Ahmad al-BashirThe Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, this afternoon presented evidence before the Court accusing the sitting President of Sudan, Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur.

Pre-Trial Chamber I at the ICC, which consists of three judges, will now review the evidence in order to determine whether a warrant of arrest will be issued against President al-Bashir.

The ICC Prosecutor has thus far publicly accused two Sudanese nationals, including the current Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, of crimes committed in Darfur although the Sudanese government has refused to carry out the warrants of arrest.

The situation in Darfur was originally referred to the ICC by the United Nations Security Council on 31 March 2005 in Resolution 1593.

In the evidence presented on Monday 14 July, the Prosecution claims that President al-Bashir masterminded and implemented a plan to destroy a substantial part of the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups in Sudan. The Prosecution asserts that for more than five years, armed forces and the Militia/Janjaweed under the President’s orders attacked and destroyed villages, pursuing the survivors in the desert where they were “subjected to conditions calculated to bring about their destruction”.

‘Genocidal intent’

A crucial element in the crime of genocide is demonstrating that the accused committed the acts with the specific intent to destroy “in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”. In presenting the evidence today, the Prosecutor asserted that al-Bashir’s intent to commit genocide became clear with the well coordinated attacks on the 2,450,000 civilians who sought refuge in the desert camps. 

Prosecutor Moreno-OcampoAccording to Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo, “Al Bashir organised the destitution, insecurity and harassment of the survivors.  He did not need bullets. He used other weapons: rapes, hunger, and fear. As efficient, but silent.”

Describing President al-Bashir’s role in Darfur, the Prosecutor affirmed:  “His motives were largely political. His alibi was a ‘counterinsurgency.’ His intent was genocide.”

If the Pre-Trial Chamber does find reasonable grounds to believe that President al-Bashir committed the alleged crimes he will follow in the footsteps of Slobodan Milošević and former Liberian President Charles Taylor as a sitting head of state to be indicted for war crimes whilst still in office.

Today’s announcement came as no surprise to the Sudanese Government who actively encouraged crowds to demonstrate against the accusations in the country’s capital Khartoum on Sunday.

Fears have been voiced, particularly by the African Union which is part of a joint UN force in Darfur, that the indictment of President Al-Bashir will have grave consequences for security in the region.

Have your say: ICC proceedings in Sudan: irresponsible or commendable?

Press release

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