If indicted, Al-Bashir destined to face justice before UN court
The United Nations' top prosecutor said Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was destined to face justice if he is indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) later this month for his role in the deadly Darfur conflict, dpa reported.
ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo earlier this year requested an arrest warrant for al-Bashir on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region. Moreno-Ocampo said he expects the ICC's judges to rule on his request some time in December.
The ethnic conflict in Darfur has pitted Khartoum-backed Arab militias against African rebel groups, resulting in more than 300,000 deaths since 2005 and more than 2.5 million refugees. The US has labelled the militants' campaign genocide.
Moreno-Ocampo, briefing the UN Security Council in New York on his investigation, accused al-Bashir of "inciting violence" over the charges and threatening UN peacekeepers in the region.
The UN Security Council originally tasked Moreno-Ocampo with building a case against the perpetrators of war crimes in Darfur. But some have criticized Moreno-Ocampo's case against al-Bashir as politically motivated and endangering ongoing peace talks in the region.
The Arab League and African Union have called on the 15-nation Security Council to block al-Bashir's indictment if it goes ahead. Moreno-Ocampo defended his decision, telling reporters that his job was to "follow the evidence" wherever it leads.
Two people have already been indicted by the ICC - the country's interior minister and a member of the Arab Janjaweed militia - and Moreno-Ocampo is seeking arrest warrants for four more, including al- Bashir.
Moreno-Ocampo said he has received "zero" cooperation from the Sudanese government in his investigation but held out hope that al- Bashir would be brought to justice eventually, even if Sudan, as expected, does not deliver him to The Hague-based international court.
"Realistically, I think he will face justice - I don't know (if) in two months or two years," Moreno-Ocampo said. "If he is indicted, realistically al-Bashir's destiny is to face justice."
An ICC indictment means al-Bashir would potentially face arrest any time he travelled outside of Sudan.