Home | News    Friday 6 March 2009

Informal polling finds mix of opinions on ICC among Khartoum public


March 5, 2009 (KHARTOUM) — ?Sudan has no tradition of opinion polls
to gauge a wide range of political views in any thing; as a result it
will be very hard to assess the actual position of the Sudanese public
on the International Criminal Court (ICC) issue.

Many foreign journalists find it even hard to have access to the local
opinion, due to the government restrictions. Local journalists are
heavily censored; only articles and reports that support the
government are allowed to be published.

However, Sudan Tribune compiled this random sample of the reactions of
ordinary Sudanese to the ICC days before its announcement. It was done
through causal conversation in the streets, taxis, public places and
residential homes, where the name “Ocampo” — the chief prosecutor of
the ICC — is widely recognized.

No names are used here because the commentators did not feel they were
free to express themselves openly without fear of retaliation.

One worker expressed his opposition to the ICC and said, "I am not
happy with ICC decision; I think it will affect the country." By
contrast, an unemployed worker said "Bashir should take his plane and
surrender to the ICC without all this nonsense."

A housewife remarked, "I am afraid of the future but the government
people deserve it.”

“These people made our life intolerable, they should all go to hell,"
said a taxi driver in Khartoum.

A tea seller thinks they all should be taken by Ocampo to relieve her
from the harassment of the local authority. Likewise, a lawyer noted
"I have no possession to protect, I have no bank account or high rise
building, and they deserve what happening to them."

A butcher said "this country is now upside down since they came to
power; what they did in this capital city alone, they should be tried
for, let alone what they did far away Darfur." A policeman said, "We
have never benefited from these people, how much do they pay us? Half
of us now are tricksters and the rest are thieves."

"You see, people like us support Ocampo — all poor people support
him," said a cleaner. One Umma party supporter said, "You know all our
people support the ICC, but our leader Sadig Al-Mahdi plays politics
with them."

An NCP supporter said, "We will create chaos if necessary — let them
issue their decision, and they will see how the Sudanese will react."
A builder said, "I am with this decision, I would like the
international community to be able to implement the court decision,
otherwise these (government) people will torture us."

A farmer from Darfur said "any person who committed crime in Darfur
should face justice." Another farmer from Darfur said, "I have known
some people die in this war; you know about 40 people died from my own
family — we need justice and I support the ICC."


Roughly, there are at least five groups that could be identified in
relation to individuals’ positions on the ICC. First, there is the
group of those who support NCP or have some economic or political
stake in the current status quo. This group is strongly against the
ICC and are able to express themselves to the local media and reflect
the government position.

The second group, comprised of people who claim to oppose the
government, nevertheless opposes the ICC move out of either fear or
interest or due to the government propaganda.

A third group, which can be further subdivided into two categories, is
those who just care about the economic consequence of such a decision,
and those who are indifferent to the ICC or what will happen to the
government. Maybe they are the majority of Sudanese.

The fourth group, comprised of those who have strong anti-government
sentiment, view themselves as politically and economically
marginalized. They support the ICC decision.

Finally, the fifth group is people who are primarily affected by the
war in Darfur and the human rights activists in Sudan. This group
strongly supports the ICC decision to issue the arrest warrant for
Omer Al-Bashir. However, their views are not reflected in the local


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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 6 March 2009 08:17, by Angelo M

    Being Sudanese and currently living on the ground strongly believe that most people people are realy happy that Mr.Bashir get to test some fear for once, and shame of having a bad name around the world- he is now officially a criminal even to those who don’t know what he look like. He had had hundreds and hundred killed with smile, now why should he not get a little sip of the ordeal?

    Second group are few (compared to the first) those who sincerely hate ICC decision, to me, these are mostly the "suckers" who directly/indirectly benefit from Bashir’s reign of terror. A "Sucker" here simply mean those who are sucking the resources of the majority poor. The second part of this group are merely those who are terrified about Bashir destroying CPA, and boy do Bashir love those within this group!!! This is how he had been in power for the last two decades- Intimidation, that’s it!

    repondre message

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