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ICC Issues War Crimes Warrant |for Sudan President Al-Bashir

(CN) - The International Criminal Court on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir on charges he committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. Although the warrant doesn't include the crime of genocide, al-Bashir is accused of intentionally directing armed groups to murder, exterminate, rape, torture and forcibly transfer large numbers of civilians, and to pillage their property.

The alleged crimes were part of a five-year counter-insurgency campaign by the Government of Sudan against the Sudanese Liberation Movement/Army, the Justice and Equality Movement and other opposition groups.

The campaign allegedly involved illegal attacks on Darfur civilian groups perceived to be aligned with the armed rebel groups, mainly the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa groups.

The warrant lists seven counts on the basis of individual criminal responsibility, including five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape) and two counts of war crimes (intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population and pillaging).

The 2-1 majority of the chamber declined to issue a warrant for genocide, saying the prosecution's evidence didn't support the charge. However, the judges stressed that the prosecution could later amend the warrant to include the crime if they gathered the necessary evidence. Judge Anita Usacka dissented from the genocide finding.

The case was decided by Judges Usacka, Akua Kuenyehia and Sylvia Steiner.

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