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Sudan's defense minister accused of war crimes

By the CNN Wire Staff
December 2, 2011 -- Updated 1356 GMT (2156 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Darfur is a region in western Sudan
  • The incidents involve attacks on several towns
  • The Sudanese president is also wanted for crimes
  • Rebels have been fighting the government and militias

(CNN) -- Sudan's defense minister faces International Criminal Court charges for crimes against humanity and war crimes in the country's war-torn region of Darfur, the court said Friday.

ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo requested an arrest warrant from judges Friday against Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein for actions ranging from August 2003 to March 2004 in Darfur.

Rebels in Darfur have fought government forces and allied militiamen, such as the Janjaweed since 2003. The United Nations reported as many as 300,000 people were killed and there was widespread displacement over the years.

Hussein was at the time the country's interior minister "during attacks upon the towns and villages of Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar and Arawala in the Wadi Salih and Mukjar localities of West Darfur," the ICC said.

"The attacks followed a common pattern: the Government of Sudan forces surrounded the villages, the Air Force dropped bombs indiscriminately and foot soldiers, including Militia/Janjaweed, killed, raped and looted the entire village, forcing the displacement of 4 million inhabitants. Currently, 2.5 million remain in camps for Internally Displaced Persons."

Moreno-Ocampo said Hussein "played a central role in coordinating the crimes" and "recruiting, mobilizing, funding, arming, training" and deploying the Janjaweed.

"The evidence shows that this was a state policy supervised by Mr. Hussein to ensure the coordination of attacks against civilians," Moreno-Ocampo said.

The ICC has other cases involving Darfur.

Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir is wanted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Sudanese government official Ahmad Harun, Janjaweed leader Ali Kushayb, and rebel leaders Abdallah Banda, Saleh Jerbo and Abu Garda also face war crimes charges.

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