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Beshir wanted by criminal court, says US

Latest update : 2008-07-11

The International Criminal Court will seek an arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omar al-Beshir for genocide and crimes against humanity, a spokesman for the US State Department said.

The US State Department confirmed Friday that prosecutors from the International Criminal Court were to seek an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir for genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
"I understand that there is some notice that the prosecutor intends to go before a panel of judges to present information and request for a warrant," department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.
He was asked to confirm reports that ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo will seek the arrest warrant Monday in the first-ever bid before The Hague-based tribunal to charge a sitting head of state with war crimes.
"My understanding of the procedures is that the panel of judges will take the request and advisement and make some decision in some period of time. I can't tell you how long it would be," McCormack said.
The United States vehemently opposes the ICC, the world's first permanent tribunal for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Some UN officials feared the move to haul up Beshir could complicate the peace process in Darfur and trigger a military response by Sudanese forces or their proxies against UN and African Union peacekeepers.
McCormack warned Sudan against taking any such action.
"I would simply say that it is our view that all parties, including Sudan, need to abide by their international obligations.
"In the case of Sudan, this means their international obligations vis-a-vis deployment of peacekeepers and, of course, we deplore any violence that takes place, whoever is responsible for that."
The White House did not immediately address the warrant issue.
But spokeswoman Dana Perino said "we do however expect the government of Sudan to comply with its obligations under the UN Security Council resolution (1593)... and we continue to call for compliance under that resolution and all of its other international obligations."

Date created : 2008-07-11