The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's president Omar al Bashir today for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, an ICC spokeswoman said. "Today, pre-trial chamber one of the International Criminal Court ... issued a warrant for the president of Sudan for war crimes and crimes against humanity," said Laurence Blairon, a spokeswoman at the seat of the court in The Hague.
Earlier, tensions mounted in Sudan ahead of the decision by the ICC. The Sudanese army broadcast a warning on state radio against anyone trying to make political capital out of any move by the court to pursue proceedings against the regime. "The armed forces will firmly deal with whoever cooperates with the so-called International Criminal Court, and uses it as a platform for political blackmail and for destabilising the security and stability of the country," said a spokesman, Osman al-Aghbash. Security was beefed up outside embassies, with large protests expected if the ICC issued a warrant on any of the multiple charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. The medical aid organisation Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it was pulling its expatriate staff out of Darfur after the Sudanese government ordered them to leave. "The government of Sudan has ordered MSF to evacuate all of its international personnel from a certain number of projects in western and southern Darfur by March 4 at the latest," the MSF said. An MSF official added that about 70 people including foreigners and Sudanese nationals who are not from Darfur were pulled out on Tuesday from four towns in the province. *AFP