Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Saturday, 21 March 2009

Sudan 'extermination' as aid cut

Omal al-Bashir
President Bashir has been indicted for alleged war crimes in Darfur

The chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court has accused Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir of "exterminating" refugees by expelling international aid agencies.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo said that by blocking aid the president was attacking the civilians in the giant camps that dot Darfur.

He called for President Bashir to be arrested as soon as he leaves Sudan.

The president is due to attend this month's Arab League summit in Qatar.

Speaking to the BBC's Network Africa, Mr Moreno-Ocampo said that by expelling the international aid agencies the president was "confirming that he is exterminating his people".

Arab League summit

Mr Moreno-Ocampo said that he would work for the arrest of President Bashir as soon as he leaves Sudan.

Judges at the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest on war crimes charges earlier this month.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo said that entering international airspace would be enough, since UN Security Council resolution 1583 urges all UN members to co-operate with the court.

Qatar, which invited President Bashir to the Arab League summit, has not signed the statute that brought the ICC into being.

Some Sudanese leaders, concerned about the president's safety, have urged him not to visit the annual Arab summit, due to start on 29 March.

Earlier this week the Sudanese former president Siwar Al-Dahab urged President Bashir to exercise "patience and wisdom" and not risk travelling to Qatar "for his safety and the safety of Sudanese people".

The United Nations and the Sudanese authorities concluded a joint assessment mission to Darfur to investigate how best to deal with the camps after President Bashir's expulsion of the 13 international aid agencies.

The UN delegation retuned to Khartoum on Friday and are due to meet the Sudanese government for formal consultations.

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