Genocide arrest warrant for Sudan's president

The International Criminal Court yesterday issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for orchestrating genocide in the Darfur region, where as many as 300,000 people died since 2003.

The genocide charge follows an ICC arrest warrant issued against Bashir in March 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He has dismissed the court's claims.

"There are reasonable grounds to believe him responsible for three counts of genocide committed against the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups, that include: genocide by killing, genocide by causing serious bodily or mental harm and genocide by deliberately inflicting on each target group conditions of life calculated to bring about the group's physical destruction," ICC appeals judges said in a statement.

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Bashir claims the allegations made by the ICC, the world's first permanent court for prosecuting war crimes, are part of a Western conspiracy. The ICC warrant was the first issued against a sitting head of state by the court.

Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem, Sudan's ambassador to the United Nations, called the new warrant a "desperate attempt" to destabilise the country.

Bashir remains at large as the ICC has no police force and depends on states that have signed up to the court to make arrests.

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