WASHINGTON — The United States said Monday that Sudan's President Omar al-Beshir should present himself to the International Criminal Court after it accused him of genocide in Darfur.
"At some point President Beshir has to present himself to the ICC and be held to account," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.
"Everyone is entitled to a day in court, and we think the sooner that President Beshir presents himself to that court, the better," he said.
The US special envoy on Sudan, Scott Gration, will visit the region next week and renew his call for Beshir to "cooperate fully" with the court in The Hague, Crowley said.
The court on Monday accused Beshir of three counts of genocide, saying there were "reasonable grounds" to believe that government forces singled out the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups for attack.
In March last year, the ICC issued a warrant for Beshir's arrest on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, its first ever for a sitting head of state, but stopped short of accusing him of genocide.
Beshir rejects the jurisdiction of the ICC, the world's only independent, permanent court with authority to try genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and has refused to hand over two key allies wanted for crimes in Darfur.
The United Nations says up to 300,000 people have died since conflict broke out in Darfur in 2003, when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated regime for a greater share of resources and power.
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