Court decision on arrest warrant for Sudan's al-Bashir on March 4

The Hague - The International Criminal Court (ICC) will decide on March 4 whether to issue an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, it announced in The Hague on Monday.

The decision is closely-anticipated as al-Bashir is the most senior figure pursued by the court since it was set up in 2002.

A request was made for a warrant against the Sudanese premier by the ICC's Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo last July, claiming al- Bashir was responsible for war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region.

Sudan rejects the authority of the court and has warned of terminating cooperation with the United Nations if an arrest warrant is issued.

There are fears that if the UN and African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission in Darfur ends, there could be violent retribution and greater unrest within the country.

Al-Bashir is accused of personal responsibility for the genocide, war crimes and expulsions in Darfur that have seen around 35,000 people killed since 2003, and a further
300,000 die from hunger and disease, according to UN estimates.

The government in Khartoum rejects these figures and the claim of genocide. (dpa)

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