Sudan President Charged with Genocide

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CBNNews.com - Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has been accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Darfur by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked a three-judge panel at the global war crimes court to issue an arrest warrant for Al-Bashir to prevent more deaths. This is the first time prosecutors at the independent court have issued charges against a sitting head of state.

Moreno-Ocampo filed 10 charges against al-Bashir: three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder.

"Genocide is a crime of intention - we don't need to wait until these 2.5 million die," he said in an Associated Press interview.

Roughly 2.5 people have been forced to leave their homes in Darfur and are still under attack from government-backed janjaweed militia.

Despite the charges, Sudan rejects the court's jurisdiction and refuses to arrest suspects, making it unlikely that al-Bashir will face any real threat to his daily rule.

"We consider the indictment of either the president or any other normal citizen of Sudan the same - we don't recognise whatever comes out from the ICC, to us it is non-existent," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadig told Reuters.

Some fear the prosecutor's move could make life even worse for refugees living in Darfur's sprawling camps and reliant on humanitarian aid for food and water.

Most members of the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic African groups were driven from their homes by Sudanese forces and the janjaweed in 2004.

Since then, the janjaweed have been targeting the camps aiming to starve the refugees.

The refugees "have no more water, no more food, no more cattle. They have lost everything. They live because international humanitarian organizations are providing food for them," Moreno-Ocampo said.

He said the international community needs to act to prevent more deaths.

"The international community failed in the past, failed to stop Rwanda genocide, failed to stop Balkans crimes," he told The Associated Press. "So this time the new thing is there is a court, an independent court ... saying 'this is a genocide."'

An estimated 300,000 people have died in Darfur since conflict erupted there in 2003 when local tribes took up arms against Al-Bashir's Arab-dominated government in the capital.

Source: The Associated Press, Reuters

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