Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) have ordered the court's pre-trial chamber to reconsider its decision not to include the charge of genocide in the arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
REUTERS - Appeals judges at the International Criminal Court on Wednesday reversed a decision that prosecutors had not provided sufficient evidence to charge Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir with genocide.
The Hague-based court's pre-trial chamber will now have to rule on whether to add genocide to Bashir's charge sheet, which already includes seven counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, extermination, torture and rape.
"The decision by the pre-trial chamber not to issue a warrant in the respect of the charge of genocide was materially affected by an error of law and it is for this reason the appeals chamber has decided to reverse the decision," ICC judge Erkki Kourula said in reading the appeal's ruling.
But Kourula added that the appeals chamber would not grant the prosecutor's request for a ruling that Bashir was criminally responsible for the crime of genocide.
Bashir has repeatedly dismissed the allegations made by the ICC, the world's first permanent court for prosecuting war crimes, as part of a Western conspiracy. The Sudanese government has refused to co-operate with the court.
The arrest warrant against Bashir -- who is charged with crimes committed in Sudan's Darfur region -- was the first ever issued against a sitting head of state by the ICC.
Adding a charge of genocide to the arrest warrant could further isolate Bashir and provoke further unrest in Darfur, where 4.7 million people have been left dependent on aid by a seven-year conflict.
The investigation into Darfur was launched in June 2005 after the United Nations Security Council referred the situation to the ICC.
Date created : 2010-02-03