International

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Burhan Ozbilici/AP
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir

Sudanese President Charged With Genocide, Other War Crimes

July 14, 2008 01:09 PM
by Cara McDonough
The International Criminal Court has charged Omar al-Bashir with a list of crimes in connection with his role in the Darfur crisis over the past five years.

30-Second Summary

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The charges make Omar al-Bashir the first sitting president indicted by ICC for genocide. The president is also being charged for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

According to the BBC, prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told judges at The Hague on Monday that Bashir bore criminal responsibility for “alleged atrocities committed over the past five years.”

Now the three-judge panel must decide if the charges justify an arrest warrant.

Sudan, meanwhile, has responded by saying an indictment would be meaningless.  “We don’t recognise whatever comes out from the ICC, to us it is non-existent,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadig said.

The White House has responded to the charges by urging all parties in Sudan to “remain calm” and that it would “monitor the situation” in The Hague.

The humanitarian crisis in Darfur began in 2003 as rebel groups in the region began to clash with government forces over the allocation of natural resources. Since then, rebel groups have fought against the national army and the Janjaweed, an Arab militia that has reportedly targeted civilians and that many accuse of being funded by the government.

The United Nations believes that between 200,000 and 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur and 2.5 million have been made homeless since 2003.

Headline Link: Court Will Likely Seek Arrest of Sudanese President

Background: Crisis in Darfur

Opinion & Analysis: Will an arrest help or hurt?

Key Players: Omar al-Bashir; International Criminal Court

Reference: Facts behind the situation in Darfur

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