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ICC prosecutor to request secret arrest warrants against Darfur rebels.

November 18, 2008 (WASHINGTON) -- The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno-Ocampo will submit a sealed filing to the judges on Thursday requesting an arrest warrant be issued against an unspecified number of Darfur rebel commanders.

A handout picture from the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) shows AMIS personel placing bodies of dead colleagues into body bags at Haskanita military group site (MGS) 30 September 2007 following an attack (AFP)

Ocampo's third case on Darfur, opened last December, investigates a rebel attack on the Haskanita military base last year that left 10 African Union (AU) soldiers dead and one missing. The attack by a large, organized group of heavily armed men who overran southern Darfur's Haskanita camp in 30 vehicles took place in September 2007, the worst assault on the under-manned force since it deployed in July 2004. The ICC chief prosecutor said last July that he had information about two rebel commanders responsible of the attack but he did not disclose the names and number of suspects. "I am focusing my efforts in the third case with the rebels attacking Haskanita" he said. "We have information about the names of two commanders who were allegedly responsible for this". The application will be filed under seal meaning it will not be released to the public and the names of the suspects will not be disclosed. If the judges approve the prosecutor's request the arrest warrants will also remain under seal until suspects are apprehended. In late May the ICC managed to nab the former Congolese vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba in Belgium which is an ICC member. Bemba's arrest warrant was not made public until he was actually arrested. The prosecutor however did not use the same approach with his case against Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir. Ocampo defended his decision on a public filing against the Sudanese head of state saying it was necessary. "In the case of Al-Bashir we determined that it had to be public. We need a public discussion on the issue. It is hard to imagine that once I present my case against Al-Bashir it can be kept secret for long" Ocampo told Sudan Tribune in an interview in August. "He is a president of a country. If I kept it sealed I cannot talk or explain my case so it would have been a useless approach. People are making their own opinions but we determined that it is best to do it in the way I did it" he added. In mid-July the ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced that he is seeking an arrest warrant for Al-Bashir. Ocampo filed 10 charges: three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder. In early October ICC judges have officially started reviewing the case in a process that could possibly drag on to next year. (ST)

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Publication:Sudan Tribune (Sudan)
Date:Nov 22, 2008
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