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International Court Issues Warrant for Sudan President

March 4, 2009 at 6:40 PM EDT
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The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir Wednesday. ITN's Lindsey Hilsum reports.

JIM LEHRER: Finally tonight, the arrest warrant for Sudan’s president for Darfur war crimes. We start with a report narrated by Lindsey Hilsum of Independent Television News.

LINDSEY HILSUM: In Khartoum, they were ready and waiting. The government brought demonstrators out onto the streets brandishing national flags and pictures of President Bashir, an attempt to show that the people would object to him being handed over for trial.

The man himself got his retaliation in yesterday. The crowd held pictures of the International Criminal Court chief prosecutor, as the president railed against U.N. resolutions in general.

OMAR AL-BASHIR, president, Sudan (through translator): I say to them: Put these resolutions in water and drink the lot.

LINDSEY HILSUM: The arrest warrant lists five counts of crimes
against humanity — murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture,
and rape — and two counts of war crimes, intentionally directing
attacks against civilians and pillaging.

President Bashir’s
alleged crimes were committed in Darfur, where the U.N. says some
300,000 people have died and more than 2.5 million forced to flee their
homes since 2003.

President Bashir can continue traveling to
countries like China, which has not signed up to the International
Criminal Court. But now he’s been indicted, he may have to be careful
about his route.

LUIS MORENO-OCAMPO, chief prosecutor,
International Criminal Court: As soon Omar al-Bashir travels through
international airspace, he can be arrested. Like Slobodan Milosevic or
Charles Taylor, Omar al-Bashir’s destiny is to face justice. It will be
in two months or in two years, but he will face justice.

HILSUM: Today, the Sudanese government reacted against aid agencies who
feed and care for the displaced people of Darfur. It’s revoked the
licenses of several nongovernmental organizations, including the Dutch
Medecins Sans Frontieres and the British branches of Save the Children
and Oxfam.