The International Criminal Court has issued a warrant of arrest for Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, and added genocide to the list of charges, war crimes and crimes against humanity last year. “The Chamber finds that there is sufficient evidence to establish reasonable grounds to believe that Omar al-Bashir is criminally responsible for those charges of genocide,” said a court decision published on Monday. The ICC’s appeals chamber ordered judges in February to rethink their decision to omit genocide from a warrant issued for the Sudanese leader’s arrest in March 2009.
The prosecution had appealed against the absence of genocide charges on that warrant, the ICC’s first ever issued for a sitting head of state. Based on Monday’s decision, a second warrant was issued listing three counts of genocide. Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo accuses Bashir of personally instructing his forces to annihilate three ethnic groups — the Fur, the Masalit and the Zaghawa in Darfur.
The prosecutor says 2.7 million people have been uprooted from their homes, of whom 100,000 died of causes related to their displacement, such as starvation. The United Nations says up to 300,000 people have died since conflict broke out in Darfur in 2003, when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated regime for a greater share of resources and power.
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