President Omar al-Bashir charged with genocide?
President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan who was already indicted for war crimes committed in Darfur might have genocide added to his list of crimes. The Darfur conflict, which lasted 5 years, led to the death of approximately 250000 victims, and resulted in a gross violation of human rights.
Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) are now seeking to add a genocide charge against the leader who is currently still in office. Prosecutor Morreno Ocampo has appealed to the judges to reconsider this charge, claiming the standard of proof is too high. He won the appeal on Wednesday although it is now up to the appeals court to strike this charge off the president’s crime list. President Bashir is still under indictment and is yet to agree to these charges and appear in court.
The ICC is an independent court that tries serious cases of war crimes, genocide, and torture and violence, among others. Although it doesn’t operate under the wing of the United Nations, the UN has often supported its agenda.
Even though all these charges are potentially strong and legitimate, the International Criminal Court doesn’t have the mandate to proceed with the arrest of the president, because its jurisdiction only extends to member states, and Sudan isn’t a member of the ICC.