The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's defense minister over his alleged involvement in atrocities in Darfur. He is one of several senior regime officials sought by the court.
The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant on Thursday for Sudan's defense minister, Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein.
The Hague-based court said in a statement that it was seeking the arrest of Hussein on 20 counts of crimes against humanity and 21 war crimes including murder, persecution, rape and torture.
Hussein is suspected of coordinating the attacks against civilians in villages in Sudan's western Darfur region while serving as interior minister from 2001 to 2005 and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's special representative for Darfur from 2003 to 2004
The ICC's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, had asked the court to issue the arrest warrant last December.
"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 said.
Hussein is one of several senior Sudanese officials to be indicted by the court. Among them is President al-Bashir who is being sought on charges of orchestrating genocide. Sudan refuses to hand the suspects over, however, on the grounds that it does not recognize the ICC.
The United Nations has said some 300,000 people died in the Darfur conflict. Khartoum puts the death toll at 10,000.
ccp/pfd (Reuters, AFP, dpa)