Sudanese president may face charges

July 11, 2008 at 8:11 AM
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UNITED NATIONS, July 11 (UPI) -- The International Criminal Court prosecutor said he will seek genocide charges against Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for atrocities in Darfur.

The arrest warrant, expected to be issued Monday, would mark the first time the tribunal at The Hague has charged a sitting head of state with genocide and crimes against humanity, The Washington Post reported Friday.

"I will present my case and my evidence to the (ICC) judges, and they will take two to three months to decide," prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said.

Some U.N. officials expressed concern the decision could complicate the peace process in Darfur, where hundreds of thousands of people have died in a five-year campaign of violence. Officials said Moreno-Ocampo's action could trigger a military response by Sudanese forces or their proxies against the nearly 10,000 U.N. and African Union peacekeepers in Darfur. At least seven peacekeepers were killed and 22 injured Tuesday during an ambush.

"All bets are off," one official told the Post. "The mission is so fragile, it would not take much for the whole thing to come crashing down."

Sudan's U.N. Ambassador, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad, said Moreno-Ocampo was "playing with fire" and the United Nations should tell him to stop or face "grave repercussions."

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