Sudan’s leader is striking back at the International Criminal Court. President Omar al-Bashir has condemned the tribunal’s call for his arrest as a colonialist plot, and announced the expulsion of 10 foreign aid agencies. An arrest warrant has been issued for Bashir on charges of war crimes in the troubled Darfur region.
Bashir told supporters at a rally: “For 20 years we’ve led a fight against political and economic pressure, neo-colonialism and all its instruments, starting with the UN, the IMF, the international criminal court. They are once again being used to dominate the people and steal their belongings and riches.” Sudan also spoke out at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, claiming the warrant was designed to cause instability. Sudan’s ambassador to the UN, John Ukec Lueth Ukec, said: “The indictment of the President al-Bashir has sent the wrong message to the rebels and their movements, thereby jeopardising ongoing peace initiatives and previous peace agreements.” The conflict in Darfur began when mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the government in 2003, demanding better living conditions. Khartoum dismisses widespread claims that it mobilised Arab-militias to crush the uprising.