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'Strong evidence' for Bashir case

President Omar al-Bashir
President Omar al-Bashir has always denied backing Darfur militias

The war crimes court's chief prosecutor says there is strong evidence in favour of his Darfur genocide case against Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir.

Luis Moreno Ocampo said he had more than 30 witnesses prepared to testify against Mr Bashir at The Hague.

On Wednesday International Criminal Court (ICC) judges will announce if they will indict Sudan's leader.

Mr Bashir, who denies the charges, said any move by the ICC to seek his arrest would be worthless.

It will not be worth the ink it is written on
President Omar al-Bashir

Sudan does not accept ICC's jurisdiction.

"Any decision by the International Criminal Court has no value for us," Sudan's leader said at the inauguration of a dam on the Nile north of Khartoum, according to AFP news agency.

"It will not be worth the ink it is written on."

Appeal

Prosecutors sought the warrants for Mr Bashir last July on 10 charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno Ocampo, on 12 January 2009
Luis Moreno Ocampo also called for warrants for three rebels last year

They allege that the president mobilised Sudan's military and Arab militias in a campaign of murder, rape and forced displacement.

Mr Moreno Ocampo told a small group of reporters at the court's headquarters in The Hague: "The intention was to exterminate three ethnic groups and that is why it is genocide according to our view."

The Argentine prosecutor said if judges decided against issuing a warrant, he would appeal.

The decision of the judges is set to be announced at 1300 GMT on Wednesday at a press conference in The Hague.

If the warrant is granted and an arrest carried out, Mr Bashir would become the first sitting head of state to be hauled before the ICC since the court opened its doors in 2002.

The war in Darfur began in 2003 when rebel groups took up arms against the government, complaining of discrimination and neglect.

Up to 300,000 people have died so far and more than two million have fled their homes, according to UN officials.

Sudan has always denied backing the Arab Janjaweed militias accused of the worst atrocities.

It says the scale of the suffering has been exaggerated for political reasons by its enemies in the West.

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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Al Jazeera Bashir attacks West over warrant - 39 mins ago
Xinhua News Agency Bashir slams ICC's ignorance of Iraq, Gaza - 51 mins ago
Washington Post Sudan's President: Arrest Warrant a Conspiracy - 1 hr ago
Channel 4 News Bashir expels ten charities amid charges - 1 hr ago
Sydney Morning Herald Beshir lashes out at West as fears mount for Darfur - 1 hr ago



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