THE HAGUE, Netherlands – The International Criminal Court's deputy prosecutor urged world leaders on Tuesday to cut ties with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the court for alleged war crimes in Darfur.
The U.N.-backed tribunal issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir last month on charges including genocide for allegedly orchestrating efforts to wipe out three African tribes in his oil-rich country's Darfur region.
Since then, al-Bashir has made a series of trips to neighboring African countries and an Arab League summit in Qatar. He also expelled 13 major relief organizations from Darfur — a move denounced around the world.
The international court has no police force and relies on other countries to execute arrest warrants.
The 22-member Arab League said, however, it decided not to enforce the warrant when al-Bashir attended the Qatar summit March 30, as many Arab and African countries have said pursuing al-Bashir could further destabilize the region.
The court's deputy prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, urged nations to "deny Omar al-Bashir any form of support."
"States should implement a consistent diplomatic campaign to support the court's decision," she told diplomats in The Hague. "Nonessential contacts with Omar al-Bashir should be severed."
Fighting in Darfur since 2003 has left up to 300,000 people dead and driven another 2.7 million from their homes, the United Nations says.
It also says al-Bashir's expulsion of the 13 humanitarian agencies has deprived more than 3 million people of crucial food aid, health care and drinking water.
"The expulsion of aid workers is another step in the commission of the crime of extermination," Bensouda said.
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