Sudanese President could face genocide charges after ICC reverses ruling

Amnesty International reiterated its call on the Sudanese authorities to arrest President Omar al Bashir immediately, after the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague today reversed a ruling that held that there was insufficient evidence to charge the Sudanese President with genocide in Darfur.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant for crimes against humanity and war crimes in March 2009 against President Bashir, but did not include genocide charges because the court’s Pre-Trial Chamber applied too high a standard of proof to the evidence. ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo today won his appeal against  the Pre-Trial Chamber’s ruling.

“The ICC Prosecutor was asked to prove that the only reasonable inference from the evidence he presented was that the President was responsible for genocide,” said Christopher Keith Hall, Senior Legal Adviser at Amnesty International. “In effect, this was requiring the Prosecutor to prove him guilty – something that can only be done at trial.”

“The Pre-Trial Chamber must now reassess the evidence against President Bashir to decide whether it can charge him  with genocide,” said Christopher Keith Hall.

Amnesty International urged President al Bashir to surrender himself to stand trial over the war crimes and crimes against humanity charges he already faces.

“President Bashir is a fugitive from international justice, charged with responsibility for crimes against men, women and children, including murder, rape, torture and forced displacement,” said Christopher Keith Hall.

President Bashir has travelled outside Sudan on a number of occasions following the charges brought by the ICC, however, he has not yet been arrested.

“All states who have signed up to the Rome Statue underpinning the ICC which  have an absolute obligation under that treaty to arrest him immediately if he enters their territory and to surrender him promptly to the court,” said Christopher Keith Hall

“Sudan is required by Security Council Resolution 1593 to cooperate with the International Criminal Court, which means to arrest and surrender him. In addition, other states which have not yet ratified the Rome Statute must not offer him a safe haven when he visits.”

An arrest warrant for President Omar al Bashir was issued by the ICC over his role in the Darfur conflict that has seen more than 300,000 killed, thousands raped, and millions forcibly displaced.