ICC prosecutor expects Bashir genocide charge

Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:35pm EST
 
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By Dominic Evans

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said Thursday he expects judges to add a charge of genocide within weeks against Sudan's "fugitive" President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Bashir last March on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan's Darfur conflict, including murder, rape and torture, but ruled it had insufficient grounds for a charge of genocide.

Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who appealed the ruling, said the continued plight of 2.5 million people in Darfur camps justified the label of genocide.

"The people in the camps are still suffering what I consider genocide," he told Reuters in an interview. "And in a few weeks the appeal chairman will rule on my request to include genocide charges. I think I will win."

The United Nations says as many as 300,000 people have been killed since conflict erupted in Darfur in 2003, although Sudan rejects that figure.

Moreno-Ocampo said conditions in the camps amounted to a "slow death" which the world had lost interest in.

Bashir, who is seeking re-election in April, has denied responsibility for wide-scale killing in Darfur and said the arrest warrant against him was part of a plot against Sudan.

Although Bashir has brushed off the charges and remained in office, Moreno-Ocampo said his authority was diminished.   Continued...