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Page last updated at 00:54 GMT, Saturday, 27 September 2008 01:54 UK

Vow to pursue Sudan over 'crimes'

Luis Moreno Ocampo - file photo
Mr Ocampo said he could not ignore the alleged war crimes in Darfur

The International Criminal Court's (ICC) chief prosecutor has told the BBC he will continue to push for Sudan's leader to be charged with war crimes.

Luis Moreno Ocampo said there was strong evidence that President Omar al-Bashir was behind attacks on civilians in Darfur province.

The Sudanese government has rejected the allegations, saying the ICC's case threatens peace efforts in Darfur.

A number of countries want the UN to block the attempt to indict Mr Bashir.

"We found evidence that al-Bashir himself was controlling the attacks on these people who normally live in Darfur," Mr Ocampo told the BBC's Arabic Service.

He said local people had been raped and killed by both the Sudanese army and Janjaweed pro-government militias.

Mr Ocampo said the attacks were continuing and that he could not ignore the alleged crimes.

He is to put his case before a ICC judges next week. In July, he asked the judges to issue an arrest warrant for Mr Bashir.

African indictments

Opponents of the investigation argue that it is hindering efforts to establish peace in Darfur.

Sudan's president, Omar Al-Bashir
Mr Bashir has denied the allegations against him

The African Union and the Arab League have said the investigation should be dropped.

African Union Chairman Jean Ping told the BBC it was unfair that all those indicted by the ICC so far were African.

"We are not against international justice," he said.

"It seems that Africa has become a laboratory to test the new international law."

But some Western countries, such as the US and the UK, say Mr Bashir's government has backed militias accused of committing widespread atrocities in Darfur.

Up to 300,000 people have been killed and more than two million have been forced from their homes in Darfur since a rebellion began in 2003.

The International Criminal Court is expected to rule on how to proceed before the end of this year.

It can refuse to prosecute the case if it believes that doing so would be a threat to peace and security.

The African Union has already asked the UN Security Council to put a block on the case.


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