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ICC Prosecutor Makes Case Against Sudan’s President

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, discusses his view on war crimes charges levied against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    And finally tonight, the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court makes his case against the president of Sudan.

    Jeffrey Brown reports.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, sat down for an interview last month, a collaboration between the NewsHour and TIME magazine. It was Bashir's first major U.S. media appearance since being indicted last March for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, or the ICC.

    The charges stem from Bashir's alleged role in the six-year conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan between pro-government troops and mostly non-Arab rebels. The U.N. estimates the death toll at up to 300,000, with more than 2.5 million people displaced.

    But, in the interview, the Sudanese leader put the death toll at about 10,000. He also argued that the court issuing his arrest warrant, which was the first for a sitting head of state, was just a — quote — "political court, not a court of justice."

    OMAR AL-BASHIR, president, Sudan: We think that the ICC is a tool to terrorize countries that the West thinks are disobedient. The African position today, by consensus, is not to cooperate with this court. And it has reached a conclusion that this court is directed against the countries of the Third World and a tool of neocolonialism.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    President Bashir is technically barred from international travel, but has visited Zimbabwe and Saudi Arabia, among other countries.

  • OMAR AL-BASHIR:

    Up until now, I haven't felt restrictions on my movement. It's not necessary for a president to travel to every country. But I have made all necessary travels.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    In the interview, President Bashir also accused the International Court of a double standard.

  • OMAR AL-BASHIR:

    You will find in all the world's countries that militants who take up arms against a government are classified as terrorists. Even those who resist occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine are classified today as terrorists, except in Sudan. When some people take up arms, it's the government that's guilty.

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