In the couple of hours that have passed since the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, a number of key actors have responded to the arrest warrant. Here’s what they’re saying and doing so far:
- The State Department issued a statement saying, “The United States believes those who have committed atrocities should be brought to justice.” See this Reuters article for reactions from governments and organizations.
- In Khartoum yesterday, President Bashir made some defiant statements to a crowd of thousands about the then-looming warrant, telling those assembled:
They will issue their decision tomorrow, and we are telling them to immerse it in water and drink it…
- Sudan’s Ambassador to Britan Omer Siddiq told CNN the ICC warrants were unlawful:
- Al Jazeera reported that “cheering crowd burned and stamped on an effigy of Luis Moreno-Ocampo,” the ICC chief prosecutor.
- At the ICC press conference in The Hague today, ICC spokeswoman Laurence Blairon said:
[Bashir] is suspected of being criminally responsible … for intentionally directing attacks against an important part of the civilian population of Darfur, Sudan, murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians, and pillaging their property.
- NPR reports on how the Sudanese state media announced the decision:
Sudanese TV did not carry The Hague news conference, but at one point broke in to programming with a brief news report that the warrant had been issued. The broadcaster on state radio announced the decision, and added, "a new chapter now begins," but did not elaborate.
- In Khartoum, Sudanese Presidential adviser Mustafa Osman Ismail noted:
They do not want Sudan to become stable…The court is only one mechanism of neo-colonialist policy used by the West against free and independent countries.
- In an interview published today in the Los Angeles Times, Southern Sudanese president Salva Kiir said:
The warrant by itself cannot make the government collapse…It puts us in a very difficult situation as a country to have an indicted president who is not flexible in his movement. But we have said let us maintain the situation so that there are no clashes that will throw the whole country into chaos…
- In a statement issued today in Nairobi, Kiir reportedly said “the Sudanese should not view the ICC move as a crisis but rather as an opportunity to consolidate peace, justice and stability in the country.”
And in the blogosphere, a number of our blogger friends are also following the breaking ICC-related developments today; check out UN Dispatch’s regular updates and Change.org’s Stop Genocide blog’s excellent coverage of the ICC story.
Photo: AP/ At a rally in Merowe, northern Sudan, President Bashir supporters burn an effigy of ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo