Monday, July 14, 2008

Head of state in ICC sights? Indeed.

(UPDATE: As expected, the ICC Prosecutor asked for a warrant against Sudan's President today. The charges: "genocide and crimes against humanity committed during the last five years of bloodshed in his country's Darfur region." The theory of liability, command responsibility. According to the International Herald Tribune report of Marlise Simons and Lydia Polgreen, the Prosecutor declared at a press conference: "Al-Bashir organized 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." ICC Press Release is here; summary of charges here.)

In a public filing at 1 p.m. Hague time today (7 a.m. Eastern time), International Criminal Court "Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo will submit to the Judges of Pre-Trial Chamber I his evidence on crimes committed in the whole of Darfur over the last five years."
Rumors swirl that he'll be asking judges to issue what would be the 1st ICC arrest warrant against a head of state -- President Omar al-Bashir (left), who seized power in a 1989 coup d'état. Allegations that Sudan's President bears criminal responsibility for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide are anticipated, so much so that yesterday "thousands of people rallied in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, in support of President Bashir and denouncing the anticipated charges."
As we've posted, the ICC already has indicted 2 other Sudanese on charges related to Darfur; however, both indictees remain at large.
(credit for Associated Press photo by Gregorio Borgia)

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