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ICC claims 'strong evidence' against Sudan's Bashir

Latest update : 2009-03-04

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor said Tuesday that he had "strong evidence" against Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for war crimes in Darfur. ICC judges will shortly decide on whether to seek Bashir's arrest.

AFP - Strong evidence has been compiled against Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir of his involvement in war crimes in Darfur, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor said on Tuesday.
  
"We have strong evidence against Beshir," Luis Moreno-Ocampo told reporters on the eve of an announcement by ICC judges on whether they would seek Beshir's arrest for war crimes in the western Sudanese region.
  

"We have more than 30 different witnesses who will present how he managed and controlled everything," Moreno-Ocampo added.
  
The prosecutor said he had been sleeping "very well", and was prepared for any outcome.
  
If the judges dismissed his application for an arrest warrant in its entirety, he would appeal. If they approved the application only partly, he would analyse the reasoning before deciding how to proceed.
  
In July last year, Moreno-Ocampo asked a pre-trial chamber to issue a warrant for Beshir's arrest on 10 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
  
He reiterated his allegation Tuesday that genocide was being committed in camps for people displaced from their villages in Darfur.
  
"The weapons in the camps are rape and hunger. Five thousand people are dying each month."
  
As for witnesses, Moreno-Ocampo said some were being protected "because we foresaw what is happening now: they are attacking people who they believe could be our witness."
  
Evidence has emerged, he added, that prominent Darfur leaders had been offered money, by people saying they were agents of the Sudanese government, "to talk against us ... to say they were our witness and they were lying."
  
The decision of the judges is set to be announced at 1300 GMT at a press conference in The Hague, the seat of the court.
  
If the warrant is granted and an arrest carried out, the 65-year-old Beshir would become the first head of state to be hauled before the ICC since the court opened its doors in 2002.
  
Beshir said on Tuesday he regarded any decision by the ICC on whether to seek his arrest would be worthless.
  
"Any decision by the International Criminal Court has no value for us," Beshir said at the inauguration of a dam on the Nile north of Khartoum.
  
"It will not be worth the ink it is written on."

Date created : 2009-03-03

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