THE HAGUE, Netherlands Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court may add a deadly attack by Sudanese troops on a Darfur refugee camp last month to a list of war crimes allegations against President Omar al-Bashir.
In an interview Friday, chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told The Associated Press he was checking into reports of the Aug. 25 attack by Sudanese troops on Kalma camp in southern Darfur.
A camp resident told The AP after the attack that he counted 32 bodies, including women and children.
At the time, Sudanese officials said the soldiers were caught in a fire fight while looking for weapons in the camp. They put the death toll at 12, including five troops.
"The Kalma camp attack had to be highlighted because it's a case in which allegations are that al-Bashir forces killed civilians directly in the camp," Moreno-Ocampo said.
In July, Moreno-Ocampo asked judges to issue an arrest warrant for al-Bashir on genocide charges for allegedly leading a five-year campaign of murder and rape against civilians in Darfur. Judges are expected to take several months before responding.
In evidence supporting the genocide case against al-Bashir, "we submit that attacking civilians in camps is normally through rapes outside the camps through more indirect ways," Moreno-Ocampo said. "This is a very direct attack against civilians. ... We try to check if this is a new policy or just an isolated event without authorization."
Al-Bashir is the first sitting head of state to face charges at the first permanent global war crimes court. He has dismissed the allegations as politically motivated and aimed at destabilizing his government.
Sudanese authorities say they have launched an investigation into the Kalma camp killings and Moreno-Ocampo said he has written to Khartoum seeking more details of their case.
According to its statute, the International Criminal Court only has jurisdiction over cases where local authorities cannot or will not prosecute alleged war crimes.
Moreno-Ocampo also said he will release more details Monday of the case against al-Bashir.
So far, the court has released only a 21-page summary of the allegations. On Monday, prosecutors will make public a 120-page document with more detail, although he said it still is heavily redacted to protect the identities of witnesses.
Five years of fighting in Darfur between rebels and militias backed by government troops has killed up to 300,000 people and forced 2.5 million to flee their homes.
As well as the case against al-Bashir, Moreno-Ocampo has called for the arrest of Sudanese Humanitarian Affairs Minister Ahmed Muhammed Harun and a commander in the government-backed janjaweed militia, also for alleged atrocities in Darfur.
Moreno-Ocampo said another Darfur investigation into a rebel attack that killed 10 African Union peacekeepers in September 2007 will likely be completed later this year and will be a key test of rebels' commitment to support the court.
"It will be a challenge for the rebel forces to comply," the prosecutor said. "Some of them say 'we are ready to go to court if the court calls us.' OK the time will come, very soon."