Friday, July 11, 2008

Sudan President Faces Charges of Genocide

According to the Washington Post today, President Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan could be charged with acts of genocide by the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. It would be the first time the Hague has charged a sitting head of state with war crimes.

Evidence of genocide will be issued by ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on Monday, leaving open the possibility of an arrest warrant for Bashir.

This is a major step in the Sudan crisis but there is apprehension from UN officials who fear that this may cripple peace efforts with the country and endanger peacekeepers. The other issue to examine is that Bashir has continually resisted peacekeeping efforts and has failed to live up to agreements with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

It's a bit of a hairy situation given the vulnerable condition of the country and the political situation. African Loft offers an interesting analysis of the situation noting that along with the safety of UN peacekeepers the role of China and Russia in the crisis is crucial. China is a large supplier of guns and ammunition to Africa while Russia, who has shown support for several tyrannical African leaders may be influential in working against the ICC's charges.

The story should be interesting as new developments unfold. In the end, all politics aside, there is a need for some type of action to be taken.

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