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ICC prosecutor to seek arrest of Sudan's president for genocide

The pending charges by the international court have put the UN on edge, as it fears reprecussions against its peacekeepers in Darfur.

By / July 12, 2008

The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court announced his intent to ask for an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, which the United Nations worries may prompt a violent response by the Sudanese government against peacekeepers stationed there.

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The Washington Post reports that ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo will put forth his case against Mr. Bashir on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity on Monday. The Post writes that Mr. Moreno-Ocampo's action would be "first time that the tribunal in The Hague charges a sitting head of state with such crimes, and represents a major step by the court to implicate the highest levels of the Sudanese government for the atrocities in Darfur."

The Post notes that Moreno-Ocampo has sought arrest warrants for 11 people while serving as a prosecutor for the ICC, and the ICC's pretrial court has yet to refuse one of his requests.

The news of Moreno-Ocampo's impending request has put the UN on edge, reports The Times of London, as it could prompt a violent response from Bashir's regime, which "has repeatedly threatened retaliation for charges being levelled against its leader after the slaughter in Darfur was referred to the ICC by the UN Security Council in March 2005."

The Times adds that Abdalmahmood Mohamad, Sudan's ambassador to the UN, warned that charging Bashir would be "playing with fire," and that "All options are open," should Moreno-Ocampo move ahead.

The Los Angeles Times writes that the peacekeepers have already come under attack several times, most recently on Tuesday, when gunmen killed seven people and injured 20 more. Sudan blamed the attack on rebels, though UN officials say they suspect the attackers had ties to the Sudanese government. The peacekeepers are preparing for the possibility of new attacks Monday, after Moreno-Ocampo makes his case officially.


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