March 13, 2009 / 7:11 PM / 11 years ago

World court prosecutor to appeal Bashir genocide ruling

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir arrives to address an assembly of politicians, religious leaders, artists and students from Sudan's eastern provinces, in Khartoum March 1,2009.REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court plan to appeal against a decision by judges not to include the charge of genocide when issuing an arrest warrant for Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Judges indicted Bashir last week on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur, but stopped short of including a count of genocide over a conflict that United Nations officials say has killed as many as 300,000 people since 2003.

“The prosecution intends to request again that a warrant be issued for the arrest of al-Bashir for genocide,” the prosecutor said in documents seen on Friday, and requested the court allow it to appeal.

Bashir, 65, the most senior figure pursued by the court since it was set up in 2002, has dismissed the allegations of war crimes made by the ICC, the world’s first permanent war crimes court, as part of a Western conspiracy.

Sudan shut down 16 humanitarian aid organizations after the ICC issued its arrest warrant, saying they had helped the international court in The Hague.

In the prosecution’s documents, dated March 10, the prosecutor said the three-judge panel applied an incorrect standard of proof in its decision determining the basis of “reasonable grounds” of genocide.

It added that as this was the first time the court has dealt with charges of genocide and questions regarding the assessment of the nature of evidence, intervention by the appeals chamber will provide critical guidance for the court in future.

Editing by Dominic Evans

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