Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Monday, 14 July 2008 16:30 UK

Sudan head accused of war crimes

Omar al-Bashir (March 2008)
Sudan says an indictment of Mr Bashir would harm any prospects of peace

Sudan's president has been accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo told judges at The Hague that Omar al-Bashir bore criminal responsibility for alleged atrocities committed over the past five years.

The three-judge panel must now decide whether there are reasonable grounds for an arrest warrant to be issued.

Sudan's foreign ministry said it did not recognise the ICC or its decisions.

"This document is certainly politically motivated," one cabinet minister, al-Samani al-Wasila, told BBC Arabic TV.

Accusing Mr Moreno-Ocampo of taking sides, the official recalled that he had previously likened Sudan to a Nazi state.

Killing members of the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups
Causing these groups serious bodily or mental harm
Inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about these groups' physical destruction
Crimes against humanity:
Forcible transfer
War crimes:
Attacks on civilians in Darfur
Pillaging towns and villages

"We shall adopt all measures necessary to ensure the security of our country and people, the head of the state and Sudan's sovereignty," he added.

Sudan has refused to hand over two suspects who Mr Moreno-Ocampo charged last year, Humanitarian Affairs Minister Ahmad Harun and militia leader Ali Kushayb.

It has also labelled Mr Moreno-Ocampo a criminal, and warned that any indictment could stall peace talks and cause mayhem in Sudan.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he expected Sudan to "ensure the safety and security of all United Nations personnel and property" there despite the allegations.

The White House urged all parties in Sudan to "remain calm", saying it would "monitor the situation" in The Hague.

US National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe stressed that the US was not part of the ICC.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged Khartoum to co-operate with the ICC.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo on the accusations

There was no immediate formal reaction from Russia or from China, which is Sudan's biggest arms supplier.

Some 300,000 people have died as a result of the conflict in Darfur since 2003 while more than two million people have fled their homes, the UN estimates.

Sudan's government denies mobilising Arab Janjaweed militias to attack black African civilians in Darfur since rebels took up arms in 2003.

'Absolute control'

Mr Moreno-Ocampo's report found "reasonable grounds" for believing Mr Bashir bore criminal responsibility on 10 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

He had allegedly "masterminded and implemented a plan to destroy in substantial part the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa groups, on account of their ethnicity" after they rebelled.

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"His motives were largely political," Mr Moreno-Ocampo said.

"His alibi was a 'counterinsurgency'. His intent was genocide."

Pro-government militias allegedly followed Mr Bashir's orders to attack and destroy villages from the three groups, pursuing survivors into the desert.

Those who reached camps for displaced people faced further violence, Mr Moreno-Ocampo alleged:

"In the camps Bashir's forces kill the men and rape the women. I don't have the luxury to look away. I have evidence."

Mr Moreno-Ocampo accused the Sudanese president of using his "absolute control" of the state apparatus to conceal the truth and protect his subordinates "in order to secure their willingness to commit genocide".

I strongly support the ICC's move, I do not want to see people dying anymore.
Job, Sudan

The UN has already raised the security alert level for its staff in Darfur. The joint United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (Unamid), which has 9,000 troops, has been struggling to contain the violence.

The ICC was set up in 2002 as the world's first permanent war crimes court.

Other international courts have previously indicted Serbia's President Slobodan Milosevic and President Charles Taylor of Liberia.

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Telegraph Sudan dictator Omar al-Bashir 'committed Darfur genocide' - 4 hrs ago
Al Jazeera Sudan leader accused of war crimes - 4 hrs ago
Guardian Unlimited Sudan's Bashir charged with Darfur war crimes - 4 hrs ago
CBS News Charges Filed Against Sudanese President - 4 hrs ago
Time Prosecutor Charges Sudan President - 4 hrs ago

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