The International Criminal Court (ICC) is compiling evidence of possible war crimes in southern Sudan, allegedly directed by the same man, Sudanese Defense Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, an ICC prosecutor wants to apprehend for alleged crimes eight years ago in Darfur. An ICC memo outlines the Darfur crimes and says Mr. Hussein is “currently central to the commission of similar crimes” along the border between the north and south, including the killings of thousands of civilians.
A significant part of this investigation is based on data from the Satellite Sentinel Project, a network of private satellites and analysts organized by George Clooney in partnership with John Prendergast’s Enough Project. The satellites have snapped pictures of Sudan since December 2010. “We are the antigenocide paparazzi,” Mr. Clooney told TIME.
The investigation comes as ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo requested an arrest warrant for Mr. Hussein with respect to war crimes from August 2003 to March 2004. Mr. Hussein allegedly engaged in war crimes by dispatching troops and militias to Darfur that killed tens of thousands of civilians to suppress rebellion in the region.
The ICC is building a case that Mr. Hussein is behind the killing of civilians over the past year. The North is seeking to secure control over those oil-rich regions along the border between the north and south.
The ICC investigation memo says evidence suggests that military forces from North Sudan and their militias committed “grave crimes.” Military forces under Mr. Hussein’s command are conducting military operations in these areas and utilizing proxy militias to carry out atrocities. The memo cites the deaths of at least 2,000 civilians since early this year. Tens of thousands have been displaced, the memo adds.
The ICC memo cites Mr. Clooney’s satellites capturing images of the results of bombing of villages in late May that resulted in the displacement of 30,000 people, as well as pictures of the movement of northern artillery and thousands of troops in Karmuk.
The fact that the ICC is investigating Mr. Hussein’s role in possible atrocities in the South does not necessarily mean he will face arrest.