Thursday, April 30, 2009
Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir , born 1 January 1944 is the current President of Sudan and the head of the National Congress Party. He came to power in 1989 when, as a colonel in the Sudanese army, he led a group of officers in a bloodless military coup that ousted the government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi
In October 2004, al-Bashir's government negotiated an end to the Second Sudanese Civil War, one of the longest-running and deadliest wars of the 20th century, by granting limited autonomy to Southern Sudan. Since then, however, there has been a violent conflict in Darfur that has resulted in death tolls between 200,000 and 400,000. During his presidency, there have been several violent struggles between the Janjaweed militia and rebel groups such as the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in the form of guerilla warfare in the Darfur region. The civil war has resulted in over 2.5 million people being displaced, and the diplomatic relations between Sudan and Chad being at a crisis level.
In July 2008, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, accused al-Bashir of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. The court issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir on 4 March 2009 on counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him for genocide. The warrant will be delivered to the Sudanese government, which is unlikely to execute it. Al-Bashir is the first sitting head of state ever indicted by the ICC. The court's decision is opposed by the African Union, League of Arab States, Non-Aligned Movement, and the governments of Russia and China. [ One expert has called on the court to suspend the arrest warrant.