By Anjie Zheng
The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese Minister of National Defense Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein on March 1, 2012 as part of the ongoing investigation into the situation in Darfur. Hussein is the fourth high-ranking government official to be sought by the Court and is wanted for 41 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including attacks against a civilian population, destruction of property, and rape.
Political violence in Darfur erupted in 2003 when the government launched counter-insurgency air and land attacks against ethnic African rebel groups. The U.N. estimates up to 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million have been displaced in the conflict. Khartoum believes the death toll is closer to 10,000.
At the time of the charges (2003-2004), Hussein was interior minister and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's special representative to Darfur. According to a Court press release, Mr. Hussein is believed to have partially orchestrated and coordinated a counter-insurgency campaign against rebel groups in the Darfur region that included unlawful attacks against civilians.
Sudan is not a State Party to the ICC, nor does it recognize its jurisdiction. Even so, the Court has jurisdiction in this case since the situation in Darfur was referred to the Prosecutor by the United Nations Security Council (resolution 1593) on 31 March 2005. Among those wanted by the Court is current Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who is wanted for crimes of genocide. Attempts at bringing al-Bashir to the Hague have been thus far unsuccessful.