Prosecutor to present third Sudan case within weeks

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said on Friday he will present a case within weeks for the indictment of some rebel commanders accused of attacking peacekeepers in Sudan’s Darfur region.

The court is currently considering chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s case for the indictment of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and has already indicted a Sudanese minister and an allied militia leader for war crimes.

”In a couple of weeks I will present my third case against some rebel commanders who were attacking African Union peacekeepers,” Moreno-Ocampo told a Council on Foreign Relations symposium, sponsored by Hollywood actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

Moreno-Ocampo has been investigating a 2007 attack on an AU base in Haskanita, Darfur which killed 12 peacekeepers and was blamed on rebels. A United Nations report said vehicles used in the attack bore the initials ”JEM,” which could have stood for the Justice and Equality Movement, a powerful rebel group.

Khalil Ibrahim, leader of the group, said in July that if any of his guerrillas was indicted they would be handed over to the international court for trial.

Sudan, which has signed but not ratified the treaty establishing the Hague-based ICC to try suspected war criminals, has refused to hand over the Sudanese minister or the militia leader indicted last year.

Asked how confident he was that the court would approve an arrest warrant for al-Bashir, Moreno-Ocampo said: ”The case is in the hands of the judges, I have requested before 12 arrest warrants — I got 12. I am pretty confident I have a solid case.”

Al-Bashir is accused of orchestrating a campaign of genocide in Darfur, a desolate region of western Sudan, from 2003.

International experts say more than five years of fighting there has killed 200 000 people and driven 2,5-million from their homes. Sudan puts the death toll at 10 000.

Jolie, a goodwill ambassador for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, told the symposium that ”peace is placed before justice, often instead of justice”.

”We let those who destroyed their countries decide the future for their countries,” she said. ”There is no enduring peace without justice.” – Reuters

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