More developments on a story we first reported in Friday's news wrap. Later today, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is expected to charge Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir "with crimes against humanity for allegedly directing the campaign of rape and murder that has plagued the Darfur region for five years." The Wall Street Journal.
Aid groups and others say the move will test the effectiveness of the six-year-old court as well as the resolve of the international community to bring Mr. Bashir to trial and address a conflict the U.S. has called genocide.
A person familiar with the matter confirmed that the chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, plans to bring the charges Monday, but it remained unclear whether he will move against others as well. A spokeswoman for Mr. Moreno-Ocampo declined to comment.
Filing charges could complicate United Nations peacekeeping missions in Sudan which have already seen a number of aid workers killed or kidnapped. So far, at least 200,000 people have been killed and more than 2.5 million displaced in the civil war between the government and Darfur provinces.
Meanwhile, in Khartoum, "thousands of people took to the streets of Sudan’s tense capital...in a carefully choreographed protest" denouncing the international court and the United Nations. Sudan’s state-run television station broadcast a statement from the al-Bashir's National Congress Party, "saying that the court’s actions would cause 'more violence and blood' in Darfur."
Sudan's largest economic and military partner is China.
Some Background ...
Bush Pressures Sudan with Sanctions Over Darfur [R20]
"We All Witness" Darfur Except LeBron James [R20]
UN Climate Report: Poor Will Suffer Most [R20]
Edwards Launches White House Run [R20]
Sudan's Multi-million Dollar Ad Campaign [R20]
Carl Lewis Says Bush Should Boycott Beijing [R20]