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Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, may have siphoned off billions of dollars from his country into secret bank accounts. At least Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor, is convinced of that - as per a US diplomatic cable published by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.

While Ocampco has not established the relevance to the ICC's mandate, he stands by the claim and says he is currently investigating the matter.
Ocampo allegedly suggested the disclosure regarding Bashir's stash of money could discredit his standing among the Sudanese.

This revelation comes as the country prepares for a historic referendum scheduled in three weeks. Southern Sudan will be voting on whether it wants to remain as a part of Sudan or become independent.

They will also hold another simultaneous referendum over Sudan's oil-rich region Abeyei. These referendums are part of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Treaty that ended over two decades of civil war. 

Just why is Ocampo adamant to see the Sudanese president arrested? Is he politicising the case against al- Bashir after apparent conversations with American diplomats? And is he risking his credibility and the impartiality of the International Criminal Court?
Inside Story discusses the significance of Ocampo's claims, particularly in the run up the referendum.
Joining the programme are Michel Abdel Massih, an international lawyer at the Queen's Council, Ahmed Hussain Adam, the official spokesperson for the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and Safwat Fanos, the political analyst and head of the political science department at the University of Khartoum.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Sunday, December 19, 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera