Sudanese president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, has been urged an influential opposition leader to hand himself over to the international criminal court for Darfur war crimes.

The call from Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi was the first significant show of dissent from within Sudan's political system over possible war crimes charges against President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Politicians have previously been united in opposing them.

In July the global court's chief prosecutor asked judges to issue an arrest warrant against Bashir, accusing him of genocide and other war crimes.

The judges are expected to decide within weeks whether Bashir has a case to answer.

Bashir was told to surrender himself to save Sudan from sanctions and political turmoil that would follow if the president defied the court and carried on ruling as a wanted man.

According to international experts an estimated 200 000 people have died since non-Arab rebels took up arms against Sudan's government.