What's happening at the
Sunday 18 Feb 2018 | 08:44 | SYDNEY
Sunday 18 Feb 2018 | 08:44 | SYDNEY

Sudan's President: Blowing a raspberry



31 March 2009 10:47

Earlier this month the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for the Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir for being criminally responsible 'for attacks against an important part of the civilian population of Darfur, Sudan, murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians, and pillaging their property'.

So far his response to the indictment has been predictably thuggish. He began with the expulsion of aid workers from Darfur, further harming the people he is appointed to protect. It was a gesture that demonstrated the soundness of the indictment.

With an international warrant circulating for his arrest, he has also adopted the high stakes strategy of overseas travel. He recently visited Eritrea and Egypt and just won the endorsement of Arab leaders in Qatar. None of these three countries are members of the ICC (although they have been asked by the UN Security Council to fully cooperate with the Court), so the real test will come if he decides to drop in on a member state like, say, Jordan.

The Arab states have bought into Al Bashir's thuggery ostensibly to get at Israel, but as others have speculated they might be thinking more about protecting themselves. Either way the President may well soak it up while he can but if the recent history of international courts indicting other leaders is anything to go by his days of freedom are numbered.

You may also be interested in...