Sudanese Deplore ICC Bashir Charges

By  Ismail Kamal Kushkush, IOL Correspondent

Sudanese denounced ICC charges against Bashir as unfair. (Reuters)
KHARTOUM — Charges by the International Criminal Court (ICC)'s top prosecutor 
against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on alleged war crimes in Darfur have 
drawn fire from ordinary Sudanese as "unfair" with analysts saying the charges 
are used by major powers as a 'tool' to achieve political goals in Sudan.
"I think that the ICC is selective in its choice to prosecute cases," Hisham 
Osman, an IT worker, told on Tuesday, July 15.
"It has done nothing regarding cases brought to it about crimes committed in 
Palestine or Iraq against Israel and the United States."
ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on Monday charged Bashir of committing 
genocide and war crimes in Darfur.
He said that Bashir has "masterminded" a plan to wipe out three ethnic groups 
in the war-torn western province.
"ICC investigators have not been to Darfur. All of their claimed evidence is 
based on interviews outside of Darfur," said Osman.
"If you say there is a crime, you need to visit the ‘crime scene’."
Sudan has already rejected the ICC prosecutor's charges, warning they would 
damage the Darfur peace hopes.
The African Union also warned that indicting Bashir would create a power vacuum 
that risked "military coups and widespread anarchy".
Veto-wielding China, which has close ties with Sudan as one of the main buyers 
of the African nation's oil and a key investor in its economy, also warned the 
move might upset peace hopes in Darfur.
"China expresses great concern and worry over the ICC prosecutor's accusation 
against the Sudanese leader," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told 
"Measures taken by the ICC should be conducive to maintaining the stability of 
the Sudanese situation, and to the proper resolution of the problems in Darfur, 
not the contrary."


"The ICC's decision and timing may have put the peace talks on hold," said 
Mekki. (Google photo)
Sudanese warned that the ICC charges would have grave repercussions.
"We want a solution for Darfur; but this (the ICC indictment) does not help," 
Muhammadayn Al-Zayn, 20, a restaurant worker, told IOL.
"I think this will open the gates for foreign intervention in Sudan."
The Darfur conflict broke out in 2003 when rebels took up arms against the 
Khartoum regime accusing it of discrimination.
The UN estimates some 300,000 people have died in the conflict, while Khartoum 
puts the death toll at 10,000.
Up to 2 million have been forced out of their homes in the region the size of 
France, in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The ICC charges are also feared to have an economic impact on Sudan.
"This decision will have a negative impact on the current development trend in 
Sudan, just when foreign investment has increased," a bank official said, 
wishing not to be named.
"Investors tend to stay away from countries that are perceived to be instable."
Analysts believe that the ICC charges against Bashir are nothing but a 'tool' 
by major powers to achieve political goals in Sudan.
"The ICC since its inception has been used as a tool by powerful states against 
smaller countries to achieve political goals," said Dr. Hasan Haj Ali, a 
political science professor at the University of Khartoum.
"The ICC is tied to the UN Security Council which has members who are 
antagonistic toward Sudan.
Ali opines that the charges are meant to pile pressures on Sudan to hand over 
two indicted Sudanese nationals to the court over alleged war crimes in Darfur.
"It is possible that pressure was exerted against Ocampo to bring charges 
against al-Bashir at this time."
The ICC issued in April last year arrest warrants for Sudanese State Minister 
for Humanitarian Affairs Ahmed Harun and militia leader Ali Kosheib on charges 
of committing crimes in Darfur.
Sudan, which is not a party of the ICC statute, has refused to hand over the 
two men.
"The Darfur rebel groups will now perceive the Sudanese government as weak and 
may escalate their war efforts in the region," said Ali.
"They (rebels) will not negotiate with the government and this may affect the 
entire region."
Professor Hasan Mekki of the International University of Africa agrees.
"The ICC's decision and timing may have put the peace talks on hold."
He, however, believes that the Sudanese government should use the opportunity 
to push harder for peace in Darfur.
"The government should let Darfurian members of the [ruling] National Congress 
Party (NCP) handle the Darfur file and negotiations with the rebels."
Abdallah Adam Khatir, a Darfurian writer, shares his view.
"The Sudanese government now has a golden opportunity to reach a peace 
agreement in Darfur."


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