Reporting from Khartoum, Sudan -- In a challenge to one of Africa's most defiant strongmen, the International Criminal Court on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's president on charges of war crimes in Darfur, a quest for justice that immediately complicated relief efforts for hundreds of thousands of people and raised the specter of more violence.
A three-judge panel found that President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir "intentionally directed attacks against an important part of the civilian population of Darfur, Sudan, murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians and pillaging their property," ICC spokeswoman Laurence Blairon said.
Sudan President Omar Bashir risks being seized as an international fugitive if he leaves his country after an arrest warrant was issued yesterday by the International Criminal Court.
The warrant was greeted as a turning point for Sudan, which has been devastated by brutal wars during Bashir's two-decade rule. Ongoing attacks on Darfur have shocked the world and left hundreds of thousands dead and maimed. Some 2.5 million people have been displaced, drawing allegations of massive ethnic cleansing.
I know, I know - I'm operating on too little sleep, and that's always when things begin to go pear-shaped. I should be looking forward to Wednesday's decision by the International Criminal Court on whether to issue an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Bashir with the appropriate solemnity, as befitting any discussion about genocide.
Less than one day after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir danced, sang, and mocked the International Criminal Court (ICC) at a public event in northern Sudan, the court lowered a long-expected boom on him: A three-judge panel at The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Bashir for war crimes against civilians in the country’s western region of Darfur.
A few hours later, John Prendergast, founder of the anti-genocide Enough Project, praised the court’s indictment, saying the judges drew “a bright and direct line” from the horrors of Darfur to the presidential palace in the capital city of Khartoum.
The Enough Project issued the following statement in response:
"The International Criminal Court arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir provides an unprecedented opening, making Sudan's prospects for peace riper than they have been in memory," said John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project.
The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for the President of Sudan, Omar Hassen al-Bashir, for five years of violence in Darfur. In a Global press conference call on the International Criminal Court’s decision, John Norris, executive director of The Enough Project, stated that, “I think this is a very good day for international justice; I think it is a very good day for improved prospects for peace in Sudan.”
WASHINGTON, DC – The International Criminal Court in The Hague has issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir, a historic action that marks the first time the tribunal has acted against a sitting head of state. The charges stem from a July 2008 request by ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo and include crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The warrant specifically did not include the charges of genocide requested by the Chief Prosecutor last July.