Sunday, 11 December 2011

ICC issues arrest warrant for Sudan Defence Minister over Darfur

ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno- Ocampo

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has requested an arrest warrant for Sudan's defence minister, Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. The crimes are alleged to have occurred between 2003 and 2004; the Hague based ICC has previously inidcted Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir for the same crimes, but also for the crime of genocide.

The warrant was issued on Friday, in a statement released by Moreno-Ocampo's office which claimed that Mr. Hussein, who was Sudan's Interior Minister and government representative in Sudan at the time of the alleged crimes, is among those who bear "the greatest criminal responsibility" for the atrocities committed in Darfur.

When questioned on the timing of the request, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo stated he wished to refocus attention on Sudan's policy and actions. ICC judges will now examine the request and decide if an arrest warrant shall be issued. It would be the fourth such arrest warrant issued for a Sudanese official in relation to Darfur.

Sudan's Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein. Photo: September 2011
Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein
A spokesman for the Sudan government branded the allegations as nonsense; It is unlikely that even if an arrest warrant were to be issued by the ICC, it would affect the actions of Khartoum. Despite an arrest warrant being issued two years ago for Presideny Bashir, he has continued his policies unabated and has traveled to several other countries, mostly in Africa, without being arrested. The African Union has consistently expressed concern over its belief that the ICC is unfairly targeting African leaders.

Academics have already begun to debate why the crime of genocide is not also being leveled at Mr. Hussein, as it was at President Bashir. Genocide scholar Professor William Schabas looks more closely at this issue on his blog

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