Digital News Report- Despite being issued a warrant on Wednesday, President Omar al-Bashir appeared to be in jovial spirits as he met with supporters in Khartoum, Sudan’s capitol. The crowds chanted and held signs that read slogans such as, “We are all with al-Bashir” along with the Sudanese flag.
The International Criminal Court at The Hague, Netherlands, issued the warrant for war crimes and crimes against humanity. However, the court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to charge him on genocide, but that he could still be tried on that charge in the future. The United Nations estimates that 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict and 2.5 million have been forced to leave their homes in Sudan’s Darfur region.
Al-Bashir has stated, “Whoever has visited Darfur, met officials and discovered their ethnicities and tribes … will know that all of these things are lies.” Sudan does not recognize the ICC, who issued the warrant, and is expected to ignore the request. Al-Bashir said, “We are not submitting. We will not kneel. We are targeted because we refuse to submit.”
Al-Taher Tayeb, a Sudanese who works as an engineer in a private company in Madinah, told Arabnews.com, “Sudan is a Muslim country that applies Islamic Shariah and has huge oil reserves. This is why they want to arrest him. The whole point is that they want to put their hands on Sudan’s resources.”
In response to the warrant, Sudan ordered international aid agencies to leave the country. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed “concerned” about the reported expulsions, a spokeswoman said. She also stated that, “this represents a serious setback to lifesaving operations in Darfur, and [he] urges the government of Sudan to act urgently to restore these NGOs to their full operational status.”
George Rupp, the president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, said, “We are extremely distressed by the forced closure of our aid operations… The international aid effort in the region is being shut down and that raises grave concerns about the welfare of millions of Sudanese people who rely on humanitarian aid for survival.”
However, some fear what the consequences of Al-Bashir’s arrest would be. American evangelist Franklin Graham has said, “Millions of lives throughout Sudan, not just Darfur, will be at risk if the already-fragile government is destabilized and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement unravels. The already-desperate situation could turn disastrous.”