Arrest Sudanese president, ICC says

June 6, 2012 at 1:00 PM   |   Comments

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UNITED NATIONS, June 6 (UPI) -- The outgoing chief prosecutor at the ICC said Khartoum's refusal to hand the Sudanese president over to face war crimes charges is a blow to U.N. authority.

The International Criminal Court in 2009 issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on war crimes charges in Darfur. The United Nations estimates that at least 300,000 people in the region died since 2003 as a result of fighting between rebel forces and the government-backed Janjaweed militia.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the U.N. Security Council that Khartoum's refusal to comply with the warrant was "a direct challenge to the (Security) Council's authority."

Several other Sudanese leaders, including Defense Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, are wanted in connection to atrocities committed in Darfur.

Khartoum isn't party to the Rome Statute that created the ICC.

"The (Security) Council can, in due course, evaluate other possibilities including asking U.N. member states or regional organizations to execute arrest operations in furtherance of the arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court," said the prosecutor.

Gambian lawyer Fatou Bensouda takes over for Ocampo when his term ends this month.

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