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It could take two months or two years, but he will face justice." So said the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, speaking after he had been granted a warrant to arrest the president of Sudan.

Don't hold your breath. Past experience shows how much Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the prosecutor, is prone to wishful thinking. That was confirmed by the "pre-trial chamber" of three judges who granted the warrant for Omar al-Bashir on 4 March. Although they decided that the president could be arrested for crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur, the majority threw out Moreno-Ocampo's application to have Bashir arrested for genocide-the most serious crime that the court may try.

An intention to wipe out specific African tribes was not the only inference that could be drawn from the evidence against Bashir, the judges concluded. "As a result, the majority finds that the materials provided by the prosecution...fail to provide reasonable grounds to believe that the government of Sudan acted with specific intent to destroy in whole or in part the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa groups."

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