4 Feb 2010

ICC ruling on Sudan president overturned

8:34 am on 4 February 2010

International Criminal Court judges have reversed a ruling that there is insufficient proof to charge President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan with genocide in Darfur.

A warrant was issued last year against him for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The BBC reports a pre-trial chamber in the Hague will now have to rule on whether to add three charges of genocide.

A top Sudanese official said the ruling was politically motivated, while rebels in Darfur welcomed it.

Prosecutors argued last year that Mr Bashir's government sought to wipe out three ethnic groups, the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa peoples.

If genocide charges are now brought, they will be the first to be issued by the ICC against a sitting head of state.

The BBC reports African and Arab leaders have rallied around Mr Bashir and several nations have refused to honour the existing warrant.

The UN says 300,000 people have died in the Darfur conflict since 2003.