Ocampo issued a statement Thursday morning announcing that he would submit evidence of crimes committeed against civilians in Sudan’s western region of Darfur over the last five years.
If the court agrees that the evidence supports a credible case and issues an arrest warrant, Bashir would be the first sitting or former head of state to be charged with genocide by the 6-year-old international court in the Hague.
Moreno-Ocampo has filed 10 counts against Bashir which include three counts of genocide for killing members of the Fur, Massalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups by causing those groups serious bodily or mental harm; five counts of crimes against humanity for murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape; and two counts of war crimes for attacks on civilian populations in Darfur and for pillaging towns and villages.
Since taking power in a military coup in 1989, Sudanese leadership under Bashir has conducted brutal campaigns, forcibly displacing millions of Sudanese and killing up to 2 million people in southern Sudan alone. The indictment comes after long-standing violence in the Darfur region which included burning and looting villages, raping women and arming tribal militias to steal and kill from ethnic groups. Forced to leave Darfur, thousands of Darfurians now live in refugee camps along the Chad border.
Moreno-Ocampo said that Bashir intentionally tried to eradicate three tribes in Sudan’s western Darfur region based on their ethnicity and sent militias known as the janjaweed to kill members of the tribes after his army failed to defeat the armed movements. The tribes attacked included the Fur, Massalit and Zaghawa groups, who rebelled against the government in 2003.
Some critics of the charges feel that the indictment would either help end the long-standing violence in the region or hurt peace efforts that are currently being negotiated for the war-torn region.