Sudan’s Bashir evokes political quagmire
Islamic Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has been nominated by his party for re-election despite an International Criminal Court arrest warrant hanging over his head. In 2010, the country will host its first multi-party elections in 24 years. The ICC says Bashir committed crimes against humanity in Darfur, where the UN says about 300,000 people have died. Khartoum rejects the description of genocide and puts the death toll at 10,000. While one or two deaths can’t really be called genocide, 10,000 must surely be. But that still puts a lot of people on the spot, including Washington, who called it genocide in the first place. The US is not a member of the ICC because of issues such as Iraq, while the Sudanese claim the use of the term genocide is really about geo-political intent. Sudan’s multi-party election will be no barrel of fun. Bashir signed a peace deal in 2005 ending a 22-year civil war fought with the largely Christian and animist south of the country. The deal enshrines democratic transformation in the April vote. But the south has most of the country’s oil, and pre-election bickering over what percentage of the vote the sparser populated south will get has already seen the election delayed numerous times.