The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is poised to seek the arrest of top Sudanese officials -- possibly even the president -- on Monday as he opens a new war crimes case on Darfur.
The prosecution said in a statement on Thursday Luis Moreno-Ocampo would submit to the judges on July 14 "evidence on crimes committed in the whole of Darfur over the last five years" and seek to charge an individual or individuals but gave no details.
The prosecutor would "summarize the evidence, the crimes and name individual(s) charged", it said.
The tribunal will then decide whether to issue arrest warrants or summons for the individuals to be named.
Sudan has said any such move could undermine the peace process in Darfur and aid officials fear a potential backlash. The Darfur investigation also could embarrass China, Sudan's close ally, just weeks before the start of the Beijing Olympics.
The Washington Post reported the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor will seek an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, charging him with genocide and crimes against humanity, citing U.N. officials and diplomats.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declined to say who would be named or what the consequences might be for the struggling U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur, which lost seven soldiers in an attack by unidentified militia on Tuesday.
In April last year, the ICC issued arrest warrants for two Darfur war crimes suspects: Ahmed Haroun and Ali Kosheib, both charged with 51 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Haroun was Sudan's secretary of state for humanitarian affairs, and Kosheib a leader of the Janjaweed militia. The men face charges of murder, persecution, torture, rape and forcible displacement in 2003 and 2004.
Moreno-Ocampo has urged the U.N. Security Council to demand Khartoum arrest the two.
Speaking in the Sudan capital, the U.N.'s special envoy on human rights Sima Samar said Khartoum, which rejects the jurisdiction of the ICC, was still not cooperating with the court.
"I keep calling on the government to do more investigations on those crimes by people whoever they are... in order to stop the culture of impunity in this country," she said, when asked whether Sudan was doing enough to prosecute Darfur war crimes suspects.
"Unfortunately this is not the case. The government is not cooperating with the ICC. It is very clear. I don't think I need to repeat this," she added.