, THE HAGUE, Mar 1 – The International Criminal Court said on Thursday it has issued an arrest warrant for Sudan’s defence minister for crimes against the civilian population in Darfur.
“The ICC issues a warrant of arrest for the Sudanese Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein,” The Hague-based court said in a statement.
Hussein, 60, is the sixth person sought by the ICC or before the court for crimes committed in the war-torn African region.
The court’s chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said when he asked in December for the warrant that it would cover crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur from August 2003 to March 2004.
Hussein, who was interior minister from 2001 to 2005 and also Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s special representative for Darfur from 2003 to 2004, is wanted for allegedly coordinating attacks against civilians in villages in west Darfur.
“The evidence allowed the office of the prosecutor to conclude that Mr Hussein is one of those who bears the greatest criminal responsibility,” Moreno-Ocampo’s office said in December.
The request follows warrants issued in February 2007 for Hussein’s deputy and Darfur security chief Ahmad Harun and Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb, both wanted on 22 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes for directing attacks against Darfur’s civilians.
Villages were surrounded, bombed by the Sudanese air force, and then attacked by a combined force of Sudanese troops and Janjaweed militia.
“The evidence shows that this was a state policy supervised by Mr Hussein to ensure the coordination of attacks against civilians,” the prosecutor said in December.