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International Court Presses Case Against Sudan Leader


The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor plans to meet with United Nations and African Union officials this week to discuss a possible war crimes case against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

An ICC statement Monday said prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo will be in New York to meet with leaders on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting.

The prosecutor has accused Sudan's president of masterminding a campaign of rape, murder and deportation in the volatile Darfur region, and has asked the court to issue a warrant for Mr. Bashir's arrest.

Mr. Bashir has denied the charges, and Sudan has refused to cooperate with the court.

Sudanese officials also will be in New York this week, lobbying world leaders to block any move to prosecute Mr. Bashir.

In a joint statement with South African President Thabo Mbeki last week, Mr. Bashir said war crimes proceedings against him would hurt peace efforts in Darfur.

The Darfur conflict began in 2003, when ethnic African minority rebels took up arms against Sudan's Arab-led government and state-backed Arab militias.

The United Nations says the five-year conflict has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced some 2.5 million others.

Moreno-Ocampo said today that Mr. Bashir has "complete control" of his forces in Darfur, and says those forces are raping women, bombing schools and trying to destroy entire communities.

Sudan has accused Western governments and media of exaggerating the conflict, and says only about 10,000 people have died.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.