Prosecutors Appeal Al-Bashir Genocide Decision

By: Mike Corder AP Email
By: Mike Corder AP Email

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court have appealed the tribunal's decision not to indict Sudan's president on charges of waging genocide in Darfur, according to a document released Tuesday.

The court charged Omar al-Bashir with war crimes and crimes against humanity in March for allegedly orchestrating a campaign of murder, torture, rape and forced expulsions in Darfur province. But judges said there was insufficient evidence to merit charging him with genocide.

Al-Bashir is the first sitting head of state indicted by the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal since it was established in 2002.

But Sudan's president defiantly refuses to recognize the court's
jurisdiction, and African Union leaders said Friday they would not
arrest and extradite him.

Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo rejected the stance Tuesday after
meeting with AU officials in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa for talks on Darfur.

"The AU is not a signatory of the charter," said Moreno Ocampo. "Individual nations are."

He said 30 African nations have signed the court's founding document, which obliges them to cooperate with the court.

"African leaders may make political statements but individual nations' laws take precedence," Moreno Ocampo said.

Since the court indicted al-Bashir and issued an international arrest warrant against him, he has traveled outside Sudan several times without being arrested. The international court has no police force and relies on countries to execute the arrest warrants.

The appeal filed Monday and released Tuesday said the judges who
rejected the three genocide charges were wrong in applying "an
evidentiary burden that is inappropriate for this procedural stage."

Prosecutors argued that they need only prove there are "reasonable grounds to believe" al-Bashir was responsible for genocide when asking for judges to file charges.

Instead, prosecutors said, the judges applied a too-high standard of proof called 'beyond a reasonable doubt.'

Moreno Ocampo insisted Tuesday that if al-Bashir wants to put the charges behind him he must beat them in The Hague.

"The only option is for al-Bashir to go to court and get an acquittal," Moreno Ocampo. "I have three years until I leave and after I leave, my successor will be there for nine years. This will continue."

His appeal accuses al-Bashir of mobilizing the entire Sudanese state apparatus with the aim of destroying a substantial part of the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups in Darfur over more than six years.

Fighting in Darfur since 2003 has left up to 300,000 people dead and driven another 2.7 million from their homes, the United Nations says.


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