|President Omar al-Bashir is one of six Sudanese officials who are now wanted for alleged crimes in Darfur [Reuters]|
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has requested an arrest warrant for Sudan’s defence minister for alleged crimes committed in Darfur.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked the court on Friday “to issue an arrest warrant against the current Sudanese defence minister, Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur from August 2003 to March 2004,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
Khartoum’s interior minister at the time, Hussein is wanted for co-ordinating attacks against civilians in at least six villages in western Darfur.
The villages were surrounded, bombed by the Sudanese air force, and then attacked by a combined force of Sudanese troops and Janjaweed militia.
“The evidence shows that this was a state policy supervised by Mr Hussein to ensure the coordination of attacks against civilians,” said the statement.
If granted, the warrant would bring to six the number of suspects on the run or being prosecuted before the court in The Hague for crimes committed in Darfur.
It’s highest profile suspect is Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted on three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of war crimes for his role in the conflict.
They all deny the charges and refuse to surrender to the ICC.
The United Nations says up to 300,000 people have died since the conflict broke out in Sudan’s western Darfur region in 2003, when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated regime for a greater share of resources and power.
Moreno-Ocampo accuses Bashir of having personally instructed his forces to annihilate three ethnic groups, the Fur, the Masalit and the Zaghawa.
The prosecutor says four million people have been uprooted from their homes, of whom at least 100,000 died of causes related to their displacement, such as starvation.