Sudan’s president may be charged with war crimes


Ahead of the planned peace talks with Sudan’s most feared rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), in the Darfur conflict, the Sudanese government has agreed to release 24 detainees as a gesture of goodwill. In turn, JEM officials have agreed to release 21 government soldiers.

Sudan’s Arab president, Omar al-Bashir, met with the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamid bin Khalifa Al Thani, in Khartoum (Sudan’s capital), who urged the president to release the detainees to get peace talks underway. Qatar will mediate the peace talks. However, no one knows for certain if the soon-to-be released prisoners include JEM members who were arrrested after the rebel group’s attack on the capital in May 2008. It was the first time a rebel group had staged such an attack. The release of those involved requires a presidential pardon.

Unfortunately, many believe President al-Bashir agreed to peace talks to thwart a possible arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur. If an arrest warrant is issued, Sudan’s somewhat moderate government might revert back to Islamic fundamentalism. Even Sudan’s intelligence head Salah Abdallah admits “that we were Islamic fundamentalists but have become moderate and civilized…” In other words, they’ll get back to brutal basics (chop off heads, hands, etc.) if anyone attempts to stand behind the International Criminal Court in charging al-Bashir with war crimes.

Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak has offered his support to al-Bashir as long as peace talks continue progressing. What does “continue progressing” mean? Mubarak would like the Netherlands-based International Criminal Court to delay an arrest warrant for a year. Talk about sticking together.

Check out our breakdown of this conflict at

Speak your peace.

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