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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir: The Record Speaks for Itself

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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir: The Record Speaks for Itself

Date: 07/14/2008
by David Sullivan

“I gave the army a free hand to move out in all directions, to use all of its weapons, with no restraints, no restrictions, whatsoever” – Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, in Agence France-Presse, September 3, 2002

With indications that the International Criminal Court will move against Sudanese President Bashir for crimes against humanity, we here at the ENOUGH Project thought you might like to be reminded of some of his past comments and behavior:

  • On June 30, 1989, led fellow officers in a mutiny against the democratically elected Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi. General Bashir announced “Your armed forces have come to carry out a tremendous revolution for the sake of change after suffering” and said in a televised communiqué that the coup was “to save the country from rotten political parties.”
  • From 1991 through 1996, hosted Osama bin Laden and turned Sudan into the world headquarters for international terrorism. Bashir later said of bin Laden, “He is a very normal person and he is very religious.”
  • In 1992, declared jihad against the people of the Nuba Mountains, launching a massive offensive targeting civilian populations. During this genocidal campaign, the government forced conversions to Islam, displaced populations into government controlled ‘peace villages,’ and denied access to humanitarian aid.
  • Beginning in 1994, became the only government sponsor of the Lord’s Resistance Army, as it abducted thousands of children in its campaign of terror in northern Uganda. According to a 13-year old child who spent two years in LRA captivity in Sudanese government-controlled territory: “I saw Sudanese Arab soldiers deliver weapons to the commanders of the LRA. The guns were brought to the LRA camp by airplane, and the soldiers unloading the guns were Arabs. They were big guns, machine guns.”
  • Continually used arbitrary detention, disappearances, and torture to stifle political opposition. In 1995, a notorious “ghost house” located near a Citibank branch in Khartoum was used to torture dissidents. On civil liberties, Bashir has said: “When we talk of handing power to the people, we mean the people will be within certain limits but no one will cross the red lines which are aimed at the interest of the nation.”
  • In the 1990s, revived the practice of slave raids against the people of southern Sudan. NGOs have suggested that as many as 200,000 southern Sudanese have been enslaved, and a UN report stated slavery there was “deeply rooted in Arab and Muslim supremacism.”
  • In 1998, engineered a famine in the Bahr el-Ghazal region of southern Sudan that killed hundreds of thousands of people. The lethal combination of militia attacks on civilians and systematic denial of humanitarian aid transformed a drought into a crime against humanity.
  • From 2000-01, systematically depopulated the oil fields of western Upper Nile. According to the United Nations: “government bombers, helicopter gunships, tanks and artillery were used against unarmed civilians to clear a 100-kilometer area around the oils fields. Witnesses reported that over 1,000 government soldiers swept through Ruweng county, wreaking human and material destruction, including destroying 17 churches.”
  • Continually used aerial bombing of women and children, aid workers, and hospitals. Among the hundreds of air strikes from 2000-01 were a World Food Program airlift, a church school, a hospital, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
  • In 2003, organized the creation of the Janjaweed militias to commit genocide in Darfur. On the Today Show, Bashir claimed: “I would confirm that we have never targeted civilian citizens and we can never target citizens.” Of Musa Hilal, the notorious Janjaweed commander, Bashir said: “He has contributed to peace and stability.” Also: “The so-called Darfur conflict is an invention by foreign interests.”
  • Orchestrated insecurity, rape, and malnutrition against displaced Darfuris. In August 2006, more than 200 women were sexually assaulted in five weeks in Kalma camp, South Darfur. But according to Bashir: “It is not in the Sudanese culture or people of Darfur to rape. It doesn’t exist. We don’t have it.” On the humanitarian conditions: “The food and health situation in Darfur is acceptable for me, because it is comparable to situation in the rest of the country” and “any talk of a humanitarian crisis is not true.”

Watch Bashir assert “all figures about the deaths in Darfur are fabricated” on Al Jazeera on YouTube here.

Written by torit1955

July 14, 2008 at 7:26 pm

Posted in Activists Forum

INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP – NEW STATEMENT

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 INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP – NEW STATEMENT

New ICC Prosecution: Opportunities and Risks for Peace in Sudan

Brussels, 14 July 2008: Today’s application by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for a warrant of arrest for Sudanese President Omar Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur creates both big opportunities and big risks for peace in Sudan.
These are the first charges of genocide and the first charges against a head of state to be brought before the ICC. The judges will now have to weigh the Prosecutor’s evidence and decide – a process that could take some months – whether to issue the arrest warrant.
In seeking this warrant, the Prosecutor is acting within his mandate under the Rome Statute and from the UN Security Council, which in 2005 referred crimes committed in Darfur to him for investigation and prosecution. That mandate has been consistently frustrated by the Sudanese government – not least in its refusal to hand over the government minister, Ahmad Harun, and Janjaweed commander, Ali Kushayb, against whom warrants were issued in April 2007 – and it is important for the Prosecutor to protect the credibility of the Court by pursuing further prosecutions.
It may also prove to be the case that in initiating this process the Prosecutor will be advancing the interests of peace. That is not his official role – which is rather to act, in the interests of justice, to end impunity for those believed guilty of atrocity crimes. But it may be that the increased pressure now placed on the NCP governing regime will lead it to take long overdue steps to cease all violence, implement genuine and credible measures to resolve the Darfur crisis – including allowing the full and effective deployment of the UNAMID peacekeeping force – and fully carry out its side of the bargain to implement the North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
The problem for international policymakers is that the Prosecutor’s legal strategy also poses major risks for the fragile peace and security environment in Sudan, with a real chance of greatly increasing the suffering of very large numbers of its people. Hard-liners on all sides may be reinforced, with the governing regime and other actors reacting to today’s application, and any subsequent warrant, in ways that seriously undermine the fragile North-South peace process, bring an end to any chance of political negotiations in Darfur, make impossible the effective deployment of UNAMID, put at risk the humanitarian relief operations presently keeping alive over 2 million people in Darfur, and lead to inflammation of wider regional tensions. These are significant risks, particularly given that the likelihood of actually executing any warrant issued against Bashir is remote, at least in the short term.
The best way through this dilemma may be for the UN Security Council to take advantage of the likely two to three month window before the judges’ decision on the arrest warrant, to assess whether genuine and substantial progress is in fact being made in stopping the continuing violence for which the governing regime bears responsibility, engaging in genuine peace negotiations in Darfur, expediting UNAMID deployment and advancing the CPA. If it believes such progress is being made, and that the interests of peace justify this course being taken, the Security Council could – even if the Prosecutor and the ICC wanted to proceed – exercise its power under Article 16 of the Rome Statute to suspend any prosecutions, for an initial twelve months but with such suspension able to be renewed indefinitely.
Such a decision would have to be made in light of the regime’s history of repeatedly flouting agreements it has entered into. But the need for any Article 16 deferral to be renewed on an annual basis would provide an incentive, hitherto lacking, for the regime to abide by commitments made under threat of ICC prosecution.
This is not the time to be relieving pressure on the Bashir regime – or the rebel groups who are making their own major contribution to conflict in Darfur. But the most critical of all needs is to end the horrific suffering of the Sudanese people and to ensure there is no new explosion of mass violence.
Crisis Group President Gareth Evans said that the international community now faced a hard policy choice in balancing risk and opportunity: “The Sudanese governing regime has until now utterly failed in its responsibility to protect its own people. The judgement call the Security Council now has to make is whether Khartoum can be most effectively pressured to stop the violence and build a new Sudan by simply letting the Court process proceed, or – after assessing the regime’s initial response, and continuing to monitor it thereafter – by suspending that process in the larger interests of peace”.

Written by torit1955

July 14, 2008 at 7:18 pm

Posted in Sudan Politics

SPLM threatens to pull from Sudan cabinet over Amum probe

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SPLM threatens to pull from Sudan cabinet over Amum probe

Sunday 13 July 2008.
 July  12,  2008  (KHARTOUM)  –  The  political  bureau  of  Sudan People’s
 Liberation  Movement  (SPLM) concluded its emergency session by refusing a
 decision by the Sudanese president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir to suspend one of
 its ministers in the government of national unity.
 This  week  Al-Bashir  formed  a  commission  to  investigate with cabinet
 affairs  minister,  Pagan Amum, on press statements where he described the
 Sudan as “failed state”.
 Amum,  who  is also the Secretary General of the Sudan People’s Liberation
 Movement, was quoted as saying that Sudan is a “failed and corrupt state”.
 The  SPLM  official made the remarks during a forum on press and political
 freedom  in Sudan organized by the pro-SPLM Freedom Bells, Agras al-Huriya
 last month.
 The  emergency  SPLM meeting in Juba said that the decision is a violation
 of the interim constitution.
 The daily Al-Sahafa quoted unidentified SPLM officials who were present at
 the  meeting  as saying that Amum offered to resign “to avoid embarrassing
 the movement”.
 But  the  officials  said  that  participants  at  the meeting refused his
 resignation  and  asked him to continue in his post until an upcoming SPLM
 reshuffle is completed.
 Amum  also proposed standing before the commission to put what he said “on
 the record” but it was turned down too by the political bureau.
 The  SPL  official who spoke to the Al-Sahafa did not rule out withdrawing
 from  the  cabinet  if the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) insists on
 investigating Amum.
 On Friday the SPLM issued a statement saying that Al-Bashir’s decision was
 “either politically motivated or a bureaucratic floundering”.
 The  statement  also  said  that  the  commission is comprised of National
 Congress Party (NCP) only and does not include any SPLM official.”.
 “How can the judge also be the defendant?” the SPLM asked.
 The  First  Vice  President and SPLM chairman Salva Kiir was quoted by the
 daily  Al-Rayaam as saying that he was “disappointed” at the way Al-Bashir
 took the decision saying he only found out through the newspapers.
 “As a First Vice President I should have been notified before the decision
 was made” he said.
 The  Arabic  language  Akhbar  Al-Youm  disclosed  that al-Bashir issued a
 decision  lifting  the  constitutional  immunity  of  Pagan  Amum. He also
 ordered  the  formation  of  a  commission  of  inquiry  with  Amum on his
 political statements.
 Pagan  will  remain  suspended from his ministerial duties till the end of
 the probe, the daily said.
 Last month, officials from the NCP lashed out at Amum and called on him to
 resign.
 Sudan  presidential adviser Nafi Ali Nafi called on the Amum to step down.
 “Pagan  must be in peace with himself by resigning and it will be welcomed
 by the SPLM even before the NCP” Nafi said.
 “The  problem  of  Pagan  and the triangle of secularism within the SPM is
 that  they  feel  disappointed  and  miserable  because the NCP is able to
 overcome  their  shrewdness and cunningness and even come out stronger” he
 added.
 Mandour  al-Mahdi  the  Secretary General of the NCP political bureau also
 described   Amum’s  statements  as  “irresponsible  for  an  irresponsible
 minister who is trying to create a split between the SPLM and NCP”.
 Relations between the two peace partners have been shaky since the signing
 of  the  Comprehensive  Peace  Agreement in 2005 that ended two decades of
 war.
 Amum  was  appointed  last December in the government of national unity in
 the  critical  post  of  minister  for  cabinet  affairs  despite  earlier
 indications  that  former  foreign  minister  Lam  Akol  would  assume the
 position.
 The  SPLM  signed  a peace deal in January 2005 with the government of the
 National Congress Party in January 2005 ending two decades of civil war in
 Southern  Sudan.  The  peace  deal  made the SPLM, the ruling party in the
 south and the NCP the ruling party in the north.
 In 2011, southerners will be asked to vote in a referendum on whether they
 want  to  be  independent or remain part of Sudan. A census is supposed to
 prelude  the  elections  but  has  stalled  because  of  cash shortage and
 disagreement over the process.
 (ST)

Written by torit1955

July 13, 2008 at 5:24 am

Posted in Sudan Politics

GoSS forms commission on electoral law

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I like the idea that Government of South Sudan should have its own Electoral Laws the counterweigh the law passed by the National Assembly.
Key points that needed to be corrected: Women's 25% representation; proportional representation through the party lists which comorised both men and women and the goegraphical candidacy.
Thanks
Alesio

  GoSS forms commission on electoral law

  The southern Sudan authorities are expected to form a commission and to
  adopt an electoral law for the forthcoming elections scheduled for 2009
  according to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, CPA.

  Speaking to MirayaFM the deputy speaker of Southern Sudan legislative
  assembly Dr. Lawrence Lual confirmed that, apart from the electoral law
  which was passed this week by the National assembly in Khartoum, the
  Southern Sudan will adopt its own electoral law to regulate the upcoming
  2009 elections in the south.

  However Dr. Lual did not specify when the draft electoral law will be
  passed.

  He said that there are many issues to be solved prior the elections.

Written by torit1955

July 13, 2008 at 4:50 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Lest we forget: South Sudan narration of their history:Part 1

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If there is any history that has been written in a way that  does not represent  views, and insterests  the common people in any country, then it is that of South Sudanse people. Their history, particlarly the periods covering 1947 up to the time when Torit uprising, otherwise known in official cycles as Torit Mutiny occurred in August 18, 1955. During that short (12 years) period, many issues around which critical events have taken place, did set the tone and trend of the poltical crisis that followed in Sudan for the coming five decates.

Today events that constributed to the present political, economic and cultural cririses are, disturbngly being seen through lenses other than that of the Southern Sudanese common men and women. Most South Sudanee are genuinely disturned when they hear experts or politicians-particularly those from the North-distorting every bit of information about South Sudanese heritage.

South-North divide and subsequent mutual hostilities and wars that ravaged Sudan as it is constituted now is being blamed by the Northerners  on either the South Sudanese “backward behavious” mostly, or on the British and the missioneries for stopping their strides right to civilize the backward and heathen South.  That perception guided the grand strategy of chiefly the nascent middle-class there, aimed at reclaiming their  percieved natural right to of islamzing Southerners.  from 1924 onwards, following the  abortive armed uprising led by Ali Abdel Latif and his colleagues in the Egypian army based in Sudan, poltical agitation based on above Islamic and Arab sense of spremacy over the Africans took shape, sideling Ali Abdel Latif’s call for a Sudan where ethnic ideentity is not a factor that determines who is rightfully Sudanese and who is not.

He was not a member of the Arab stock. Borned in Aswan to  a Dinka mother and a Nuba father who was a slave to Ahmad Hassan, a donggolwai from Khandak.  Ex slaves from the South, classified as detribalized (Mouludeenin Sudanese slang),  and Nuba from western Sudan dominated the army. Though they were Moslems themselves, they could not gain public support of a sociey dominated by the influence of sectarian world outlook with Arab supremacy prejuces. as its means of mobilization.

The White flag, for that was the name of Abdel Latif’s Movement was called,viscerally composed of locally recruited soliders  drawn from  humble social background  of  detrablized,ex-slaves. Their  political campaign agenda conflicted the Arab-Islamic ones. The White Flag’s agenda which is hinged building Sudan as a future nation based on its as a geographic territory indentification instead of racial or ethnic identity of Sudan did endear their religeous leaders and political activist in those years, thus they greeted the movement with ambivallence if not outright opposition. That was e as early as eighty five years ago.

These ideopogical differences refelct the interwining  complexity of the historical realities of this country and how the identity of the cocuntry and its people remained a contested issue, blurring other underlying issues, such as rhw variousconcerns,  needs, agenda and powers struggle within and among various actors in Sudan often conflictual history.

In the next post, I will try to  tackle the next important topic, the Closed Districts Ordance and the Southern Policy, and how this policy dominated debate over and over when the so called “Southern Problem”is mentioned.

Written by torit1955

July 12, 2008 at 1:54 pm

Posted in Sudan Politics

First attempt by international tribunal against sitting head of state

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Sudan President to be charged with genocide by ICC

 First attempt by international tribunal against sitting head of state

 By Colum Lynch and Nora Boustany
 The Washington Post

 UNITED NATIONS - The chief prosecutor of the Internationals Criminal Court
 will seek an arrest warrant Monday for Sudanese President Omar Hassan
 al-Bashir, charging him with genocide and crimes against humanity in the
 orchestration of a campaign of violence that led to the deaths of hundreds
 of thousands of civilians in the nation's Darfur region during the past
 five years, according to U.N. officials and diplomats.

 The action by the prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo of Argentina, will mark
 the first time that the tribunal in The Hague charges a sitting head of
 state with such crimes, and represents a major step by the court to
 implicate the highest levels of the Sudanese government for the atrocities
 in Darfur.

 Some U.N. officials raised concerns Thursday that the decision would
 complicate the peace process in Darfur, possibly triggering a military
 response by Sudanese forces or proxies against the nearly 10,000 U.N. and
 African Union peacekeepers located there. At least seven peacekeepers were
 killed and 22 were injured Tuesday during an ambush by a well-organized
 and unidentified armed group.

 Representatives from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security
 Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- met
 with U.N. officials Thursday to discuss the safety of peacekeepers in
 Darfur. U.N. military planners have begun moving peacekeepers to safer
 locations and are distributing food and equipment in case the Sudanese
 government cuts off supplies.

 "All bets are off; anything could happen," said one U.N. official, adding
 that circumstantial evidence shows that the government of Sudan
 orchestrated this week's ambush. "The mission is so fragile, it would not
 take much for the whole thing to come crashing down."

 Sudan's U.N. ambassador, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad, said rebels are
 responsible for the attack on U.N. peacekeepers, and insisted that
 Sudanese forces will not retaliate against foreign peacekeepers. However,
 he warned that the announcement of charges against Bashir or other senior
 officials would "destroy" international efforts to reach a peace
 settlement in Darfur.

 "Ocampo is playing with fire," Mohamad said. "If the United Nations is
 serious about its engagement with Sudan, it should tell this man to
 suspend what he is doing with this so-called indictment. There will be
 grave repercussions."

 Bashir has been at the center of international efforts to seek a political
 solution to the crisis. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President
 Bush have routinely reached out to Bashir on issues such as
 counterterrorism and the deployment of peacekeepers. Bush envoys have met
 regularly with Bashir, and former envoy Andrew S. Natsios delivered a
 missive from Bush to the Sudanese leader in March 2007 urging him to allow
 more U.N. and African peacekeepers in Darfur.

 "I will present my case and my evidence to the [ICC] judges, and they will
 take two to three months to decide," Moreno-Ocampo said in an interview
 Wednesday, referring to a pretrial panel made up of judges from Brazil,
 Ghana and Latvia. "We will request a warrant of arrest, and the judges
 have to evaluate the evidence." On Thursday, Moreno-Ocampo's office said
 in a statement that the prosecutor will "summarize the evidence, the
 crimes and name individual(s) charged" at a news conference Monday in The
 Hague.

 The ICC does not issue formal indictments, but simply presents its charges
 to the pretrial chamber and asks it to issue an arrest warrant for a
 suspect.

 Moreno-Ocampo has charged at least 11 people since 2004 -- in countries
 including Congo, Sudan, Uganda and the Central African Republic -- and the
 pretrial chamber has never refused a public request for an arrest warrant.

 The violence in Darfur began in February 2003 when two rebel groups
 attacked Sudan's Islamic government, claiming a pattern of bias against
 the region's black African tribes. Khartoum organized a local Arab
 militia, known as the Janjaweed, and conducted a brutal counterinsurgency
 campaign that has left more than 300,000 people dead and has driven more
 than 2 million more from their homes. The Bush administration accused the
 government of genocide.

 Officials familiar with Moreno-Ocampo's investigation said Bashir is
 unlikely to surrender to the ICC anytime soon. The leader has refused to
 release to the court two other Sudanese nationals indicted in April 2007,
 even appointing one of them, Ahmed Haroun, to oversee international
 peacekeepers and humanitarian relief efforts.

 The Bush administration has long opposed the International Criminal Court,
 fearing it would conduct frivolous investigations of alleged crimes by
 U.S. service members. But the United States allowed the Security Council
 to authorize the court to investigate war crimes in Darfur.

 Critics of Moreno-Ocampo, including some inside the United Nations, said
 an arrest warrant may undercut international efforts to negotiate a
 political settlement between Khartoum and Darfur's rebel groups. But ICC
 supporters counter that Bashir has never been committed to a political
 settlement and that he will respond only to tough measures.

 "Bashir will certainly use the indictment to justify some awful reactions,
 such as humanitarian aid restrictions and further barriers" to the joint
 U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, said John Prendergast,
 co-chairman of the Enough Project, an initiative to end crimes against
 humanity. "But if the international community stands firm and makes it
 clear that these kinds of responses will only make matters worse for
 Bashir . . . then he will relent."

 ICC advocates contend that such court actions contribute to peace efforts.
 Previous indictments of world leaders -- such as former Serbian leader
 Slobodan Milosevic and former Liberian president Charles Taylor -- by
 other U.N. tribunals have ultimately contributed to stability in those
 countries, said Richard Dicker, director of the international justice
 office at Human Rights Watch.

 "I would never belittle the potential dangers" of such international
 prosecutions," Dicker said. "It is the prosecutor's job, however, to
 follow the evidence wherever it leads, regardless of the people in high
 positions, he investigates. . . . Will it be controversial? You bet. What
 is at stake here is limiting the impunity of those associated with these
 horrific events in Darfur since 2003."

Written by torit1955

July 11, 2008 at 8:17 pm