Home | Comment & Analysis    Thursday 7 August 2008

Omar al-Bashir indictment taking toll

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By Steve Paterno

August 6, 2008 — The potential arrest of President Omar al-Bashir of Khartoum for allege genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity by International Criminal Court (ICC) has clearly taken a toll on the Islamic regime in Khartoum in general and al-Bashir in particular. Just a day after ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo presented charges against al-Bashir for his alleged crimes to be arrested, al-Bashir employed a ploy for public relation in a view of glamorous public to show that he was still in charge, signing into law Sudan’s Interim Election Laws. However, al-Bashir public appearance and confusion betrayed his ploy. While attending the signing ceremony, he appeared feasibly distraught to a great extent that he was posing for pictures with the photographers as oppose to the photographers taking his pictures in a photo opportunity manners. He even mistook the election law book for a Qu’ran—idyllically for a self imposed head of the Imams in the country.

As expected, al-Bashir’s members of the regime are even more confused than him. They rushed into media, one after another, issuing contradicting messages, all for their own peril. For example, Bona Malwal, a South Sudanese political opportunist and al-Bashir backroom boy exposed the regime’s dirtiest plan against foreign nationals in Sudan by calling for their outright expulsion. By implication, Malwal is inciting for persecutions of foreign nationals in Sudan, which is criminally incriminating himself in any potential attacks against foreign nationals. The ICC has probably taken notes on such self-incriminating official advisor to the President of the brutal regime in Khartoum.

Worst yet, al-Bashir issued decree for the formation of a crisis committee to fight off the indictment against him (the president) and the regime. The committee is headed by first Vice President Salva Kiir, the chairman of Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM). For whatever motive, Al-Bashir ignored the fact that Kiir is not a lawyer; leave alone whether he has ever read the Rome Statue, the legal basis for the foundation of ICC. Al-Bashir regime in Khartoum boasts of having seasoned lawyers among its membership, the likes of the Vice President, Ali Osman Taha. These self-styled seasoned lawyers, in midst of actual confusions failed to step up and demonstrate their legal prowess so as to rescue their boss.

The absurdity of al-Bashir choice for his defense lawyer/crisis manager, cast more confusions among SPLM members, whom Kiir is their head. To date, SPLM is yet to come up with its position on ICC as they already discarded the first position they prematurely came up with. As the SPLM is in limbo, contemplating on a new position, its Secretary General Pagan Amum is already toeing what appears to be SPLM’s new position—shouting out loud of a systematic genocide in Darfur and South Sudan, committed by the regime of al-Bashir.

So far, al-Bashir never managed to secure any concrete deal through his phone calls pleas to friends. A phone call to China’s premier resulted into strategically rejection of al-Bashir attending Olympics games in China for this summer. Another phone call to Senegalese President, Abdoulaye Wade was not positive either as al-Bashir is told that he will not be welcomed in Senegal, being an international war criminal that he is. The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon refuses to pick al-Bashir’s phone calls anymore, because he is advised not to deal with an individual who is under the process of international criminal indictment. A phone call from Libyan President Muammar al-Gaddafi was only to convey a negative message that the Libyan and South African efforts at the UN Security Council to defer al-Bashir’s indictment failed. A political massage from the Arab League and the Islamic countries are not relieving either. Al-Bashir and the regime are clearly running out of options.

Al-Bashir other option is to dispatch his army of diplomats to foreign capitals to plea a deal for him. Up to now, they are finding it difficult to convince any head of state to support al-Bashir. A high power delegation headed by Salva Kiir to neighboring Uganda was disappointingly sent back home. President Yuweri Museveni of Uganda wants to see al-Bashir investigated and prosecuted not just for war crimes in Darfur but as well as for the crimes committed in northern Uganda by the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a terrorist outfit sponsored by al-Bashir. Museveni affirms that he can do the job himself if given a chance, echoing the ICC position that it is the obligation of all the States to carryout the arrest of al-Bashir. However, one of the dispatchers, the one to South Africa, headed by Mustafa Osman Ismail (the real Khartoum foreign minister) managed to secure a deal for al-Bashir by convincing the South African President Thabo Mbeki to travel to Khartoum to console al-Bashir since al-Bashir sensed that his traveling has become restricted, making him virtually a prisoner in his own country. One can understand that Thabo Mbeki may also find consolation for himself in this regard, being the lame-duck president who is faced with deem prospect for future, including potentially facing a probe on corruption.

The Arab League and its weaker counterpart, the African Union (AU), despite their rhetoric to oppose al-Bashir’s indictment, noticed that they are the least group to rescue al-Bashir. The Arab League emergency meeting in the midst of this crisis never came up with any viable resolution. Instead, they resorted into attacking the moral character of the ICC Prosecutor, Moreno-Ocampo. The AU, with thirty strong members as signatures of ICC, is in a dilemma. They are shapely divided, and can never reach any conclusion to help al-Bashir

If one thinks al-Bashir difficulties are only on international front, you cannot be more wrong. Al-Bashir opposition inside Sudan increases dramatically. Of course, he is not welcome in Sudan’s marginalized areas as shown by his recent visit to Darfur where the regime threatened civil service employees to turn out for al-Bashir’s rally or they could have faced firing from work. Even the regime orchestrated demonstrations of rented crowds in support of al-Bashir in the capital Khartoum are already dead while ICC indictment still stands. One would have seen this coming by just counting the number of those staged demonstrators. Khartoum is a city of millions of people and this was evidenced when Khartoum residents, in millions welcomed John Garang, the chairman of SPLM/A to the city about three years ago. However, to see only few hundreds turned out in support of the seating president, is a clear manifestation of lack of support from the populace. Now the speculation is that the ruling clique themselves will be the very ones who will hand al-Bashir to the ICC as they want to survive, at least until some other day. How and when they will do that is yet a matter of speculation, but what is clear is that history is in a making with a huge potential of affecting real change.

Steve Paterno is the author of The Rev. Fr. Saturnino Lohure, A Romain Catholic Priest Turned Rebel. He can be reached at stevepaterno@yahoo.com



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  • 7 August 2008 06:36, by Mr Famous Big_Logic_Boy

    I personal agree to this article I personals propose the decision of ICC toward Bashir in fact those Arabs in Sudan believes that they are the most powerful people on the earth forgetting their maser s in USA beside UK which is home to Islamic, In our side of South or SPLA I also propose that Pagan Amum is much smarter than Kiir who is now being used by Arabs to save with the life of bloody al basher. Those idiots like Akol, Bona Malwal follow by the one who is now silent Reik are the most dangerous people that South need to be carefully with them, again Kiir must be carefull with current plan of Arabs putting him as a target to crook with the fire.I just hope that al Bashir must be arrested fairly.He has nothing to do even if ICC believe that he is going to make any changes, it is always hard to bring a crook man to a normal life it is like throwing an egg from your hand.However AU has nothing to do with the situation in Durfur and Sudan In general, although al basher Is working hard by telling those of china, Russia or South Africa to deal with ICC I would say they will never achieve since we had lost a lot of lives and yet more still in critical condition.

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  • 7 August 2008 14:30, by Wen de Dengagueleny

    The days of the mighty demon of Sudan (al Bashir) are numbered! He personally has felt that he is a culprit and absolutely the most wanted criminal of the globe in addition to his causin Osama bin Laden. He must be hunged like his uncle Saddam Hussein for the uncountable crimes committed not in Sudan alone but also in the neighbouring countries like Uganda and Chad. His daily song illah ahkber will never help. He is now avoided by his closest friends.
    Bashir must remember that, what killed the mighty Saddam will also kill him.

    For the NCP,it is left with few seconds to quit the palace. My message to the confused southern politicians in the NCP is to have a glance at our beautiful South Sudan. Stop the business of being used as a tool by the NCP for the sake of survival. Come back, Southern Sudan has enough food for you to sustain your well_developed appetite. Mind your integrities. Don’t invite bad images to your sons and daughters if you don’t mind of yourselves.

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  • 7 August 2008 14:33, by Athon Kueth

    Another fatal war in southern Sudan now is (Drinking)

    After the CPA was signing in Kenya, many people thought the life and freedom has come back, many individuals of course hoped, they will again attain their origin traditions back. It was really great hope for every individual. The CPA is not a miracle but attributions of long Africa civil war of which Africa almost lost lives about two millions, said others. Particularly, southerners saw it as the long national struggle that started by Rev. Satrino succeeded by Anya and then SPLA/M.

    Many young men appeared on TV dancing during CPA singing ceremony on 9-1-2005 while national songs like Ketheer Aci rot ben Nyook triggered heart to node his head while signing. Many women were cheering up the celebration with high-up hope and bold.
    The world itself stands up witnessing the CPA signing through TVs around the world on that day of peace signing.

    Everyone was really happy for many positive perspectives to come, I personally expected that there will be a great nation from southern sudan that shall in course awake slept African for development and other challenges which facing it these days. I thought that, the people of southern Sudan will be continuously remembering the suffering and slavery they faced for century.

    And I think it wasn’t me alone who thought in this way but of course there must be unknown people that thought in the same way. These expectations are done and achieved by 85% which is big percentage. Unfortunately, one thing comes to be a big problem for whole nation of southern Sudan. In my view of point drinking is another war which facing southerners these day, likewise, it was Africa nations problem and source of lack of development.
    I am very great and proud of my government of southern Sudan for their imaginable achievement on development. When I recently visited south Sudan, I found many angles of lives are developed. But, I was innerly not happy to see people always tracking down the winds and other drinks which are not good even health.

    I was so surprised to have seen the alcohol being adopted as dessert after meals. Most of young people are not in consciousness due to this matter of drinking. Much weird even devil act is that almost women are trading in fields of winds which affected their children and youths. No laws were made to differentiate certain ages to drink; this is against the law of nature and even the institutional laws.
    In past, people in southern Sudan were so institutional about drinking. They didn’t know about alcohol but white wine made from grain and maize. Under ages were not allowed to drink any kind of wines. It was not possible to find some one attack you as result of unconsciousness from drinking.

    In past few years before the peace in Khartoum many young people did not bale to complete their schools and universities due to the drinking of alcohol in particular.
    Remember that the great Deng Nhial, once a day, I have three thins of which I am fighting against them. 1- Slavery 2- Drinking 3-aduletry
    I am not longer feeling healed without abolishing these critical issues which numbing my people, he said. He further went on saying, clean people like those who rear cattle are much conscious than those who are in the city addicted to alcohol.

    I do not like to long my opinion, but I am asking my government of southern Sudan to stand firm against this negative issue which if it could not deal in good way would abolish the bright history of struggle of people of southern Sudan.
    As young person those young victims of drinking, I am asking so heartedly Goss heads to take this issue into accountability as soon as possible.

    The author is a student; he can be reached at the address angelo_agoth@yahoo.com

    Chol. A. Athon Agoth

    View online : Another fatal war in southern Sudan now is (Drinking)

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    • 11 August 2008 18:17, by Gatdelha

      Dear brother, Athon Kueth!!

      the issue of drinking you have just raise up is very important to our nation and its people, I wish I was a minister of health in the GoSS so that I can put your comment in practise!

      I wonder what our people is thinking of, it looks as if our government is waiting for the great God to come from sky and build our country!

      I believe we are pacing such problems because those ignorant anyanaya are holding vital positions in the GoSS without any minimum qualification whatsoever, they are arresting the developmen of the country with their lack of knowledge and technically know how I believe.

      We need to get rid of those before, and start to educate our people properly! drinking is a real problem I believe! as many of our graduates, school kids plus officials are abusing alcohol right now, it is indeed a very sad news as it means ruin of the country! where are we going to find who will run our country in days to come if the alcohol have to wipe out these vital members of our nation! we have to do something about this and the HIV and AIDS or other STDs too.

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  • 7 August 2008 16:44, by deyjien

    A fantastic article that has depicted and truly reflected the current situation in the Capital...Just like the OLYMPICS, the countdown has started before the FAT-LADY-SINGS!!!

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  • 7 August 2008 19:58, by kuur Deng

    If it is actuallty true that president Omar Bashir is indicted for committed genocide in Darfur why is it so long for him to be taken to the ICC to explain himself? I do think that he will deny any thing that has gone wrong not only in Darfur but in the intire country.And this is because Sudan is the country that every body comes and what he wants and go away.
    The biggest African nation’s problems need not to be exaggerated as for business interest.Urges African leaders to shout up theirs mouts.
    Thank
    William Deng Mac.

    View online : I don’t think Bashir will deny any single mistakein the ICC.

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    • 7 August 2008 22:29, by Chier Arop

      Incidentally, I have no doubt that Bashir is guilty of genocide,war crime and war against humanity, but I’m not changing my stance on the issue of his charges that he has done for number of years.

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