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July 14th, 2008
International Court Accuses Sudanese President of Genocide

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague has accused Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir of genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

With prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s official request for an arrest warrant on Monday, al-Bashir became the first head of state to be charged with war crimes by the ICC.

Al-Bashir “used the whole state apparatus, he used the army, he enrolled the janjaweed. They all reported to him,” Moreno-Ocampo said, presenting his evidence against al-Bashir to the court. “His alibi was a ‘counterinsurgency.’ His intent was genocide,” the prosecutor said.

But the Sudanese government has refused to recognize the authority of the court.

“We don’t recognize whatever comes out from the ICC,” Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Al al-Sadig said. “To us it is non-existent.”

United Nations aid workers and peacekeepers are worried that the warrant for al-Bashir’s arrest might cause problems for them on the ground in Sudan. Some aid organizations have evacuated all but the most essential members of their staff. Last week, seven members of the U.N./African Union peacekeeping force were killed in Darfur, and some speculated that the attack was carried out in anticipation of the ICC’s charge.

But in a statement issued after the court’s announcement, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said that U.N. peacekeeping, humanitarian and development work would continue.

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