Omar Al Bashir: suspected of genocide

JUSTICE minister Dermot Ahern has signed off on an arrest warrant for the president of Sudan for war crimes should he attempt to land in Shannon on a transit flight.

The Sunday Tribune understands that the Attorney General (AG) recently advised Ahern to sign off on search, arrest and detention warrants for Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir for alleged crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.

The move follows the International Criminal Court issuing a directive for Al Bashir's arrest on suspicion of alleged genocide and other war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region.

The AG's office was advised that in order to proceed with the warrants in accordance with the International Criminal Court (ICC) Act 2006, the minister for justice must sign off on the arrest warrants, which Ahern has done in recent days.

The International Criminal Court found there were reasonable grounds to conclude that Bashir had committed genocide against three ethnic groups.

The charges included "genocide by killing, genocide by causing serious bodily or mental harm and genocide by deliberately inflicting on each target group conditions of life calculated to bring about the group's physical destruction".

Al Bashir has possibly diverted nearly $9bn abroad, most of which may have ended up in a London-based account, according to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

According to a recent Wiki­Leaks document, the ICC's Luis Moreno-Ocampo alleged that Lloyd's bank in London could have knowledge of the whereabouts of that money.

Moreno-Ocampo revealed the information to Susan Rice, the US envoy to the UN and Alejandro Wolff, her deputy, in March during a meeting. The president of Sudan is the first head of state the ICC has indicted for alleged war crimes.

Lloyds Banking Group said it had no evidence of funds in Al Bashir's name.

It said the bank's policy was to fully cooperate with legal and regulatory obligations as set out by the industry watchdog.

The allegations of the laundered money, which Moreno-Ocampo said was likely to change the leader's image from one of admiration by his people to that of a thief, comes weeks before south Sudan will vote on succession from Khartoum. Al Bashir has received intense international pressure to allow voting to move forward according to schedule if his country wants to avoid civil war.