Where: The Hague, Netherlands
March 18, 2009 : The International Criminal Court (ICC)* issued a warrant for the arrest of Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir on March 4, 2009 and charged him with committing war crimes and humanitarian crimes resulting in thousands of deaths. The victims of this genocide are the tribal minorities of Sudan’s Darfur region. Omar al-Bashir, a military dictator, has been supplying funds and arms to the militia group that is actually carrying out the brutal war. Over 300,000 people have died, and around 2.5 million have been forced to leave their homes.
In retaliation to the arrest warrant issued by the Court, al-Bashir ordered the immediate expulsion of 10 leading international aid organisations, including the agency ‘Doctors Without Borders’. This has worsened the humanitarian crisis.
Omar al-Bashir could be arrested if he visits a member country of the ICC. Since he is unlikely to do that, the Court has asked the United Nations (UN) for help. The UN’s Security Council can pass a resolution authorizing al-Bashir’s arrest. The African Union, however, is appealing to the Security Council to give peace another chance in Darfur, and to delay the prosecution of al-Bashir. A defiant al-Bashir told supporters in Darfur today that neither any international court nor the UN Security Council could touch ‘an eyelash’ on him.
This is the second time that an international court has issued charges against a head of state in office. The first was Yugoslavia’s Slobodan Milosevic, indicted 10 years ago for the atrocities he committed in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo.
*The International Criminal Court is located in The Hague, Netherlands. It is a permanent tribunal which can prosecute individuals for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. It was established in 2002 and has 108 member countries.
Related Links – If you want to know more about Sudan:
Sudan: Where is it? Click here to see it on the map
Sudan: Country profile
Sudan: Latest news about Sudan
Sudan: Images from Sudan