Start of Main Content

Second Chance for Genocide Charges Against Bashir

Brian Steidle

Appeals judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) have reversed a decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC not to include genocide in the charges against Sudanese President Bashir. The Pre-Trial Chamber will have to reconsider anew the charges, which include three counts of genocide.

In March 2009, when the ICC announced its historic decision to issue an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Bashir for his leadership role in orchestrating the conflict in Darfur, the Pre-Trial Chamber issued an indictment with charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes, but did not accept the prosecution's charge of genocide. The pre-trial judges believed that the prosecution had not provided enough evidence to support the genocide charge.

The prosecution subsequently appealed the decision to the Court's Appeals Chamber. Prosecutors argued that the time to provide such evidence was during the main trial and not when they were simply seeking to bring charges. In reversing the decision, the Appeals Chamber explained that the standard of evidence used by the Pre-Trial Chamber to reject the charge of genocide was "higher and more demanding than what is required" and that it was "materially affected by an error of law."

Prosecutors will now have to re-present the case for charging President Bashir with genocide.