George Clooney’s Satellites Build a Case Against an Alleged War Criminal
The International Criminal Court is compiling evidence of possible recent war crimes in southern Sudan, allegedly directed by the same man, Sudanese Defense Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, who a prosecutor at the court wants to apprehend for alleged crimes eight years ago in Darfur. An internal ICC memo outlines the Darfur crimes, and says Hussein is “currently central to the commission of similar crimes” now along the border between the north and south, including the killings of thousands of civilians.
The ICC documents obtained by TIME show a significant portion of this new investigation is based on data from the Satellite Sentinel Project, a network of private spy satellites and analysts organized by George Clooney in partnership with John Prendergast’s Enough Project. The satellites have been snapping pictures of southern Sudan since December of last year. “We are the antigenocide paparazzi,” Clooney told TIME then.
The new investigation comes just as ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, requested an arrest warrant for Hussein with respect to war crimes allegedly committed in Darfur from August 2003 to March 2004. Hussein allegedly engaged in war crimes by dispatching troops and militias to that far-western region that indiscriminately killed tens of thousands of civilians in an effort to suppress rebellion in the region against the regime in Khartoum.
The documents obtained by TIME show the ICC is separately building a case that Hussein may be behind the killing of civilians over the past year in Kordofan, Nuba Mountain, Blue Nile State and South Sudan. The North is seeking to secure control over those oil-rich regions in the central area of the country along the border between the north and south.