Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 19:02 pm (KSA) 16:02 pm (GMT)

[FACTBOX] World reactions to Bashir arrest warrant

World reaction spanned the spectrum, from Sudanese supporters (pictured here) who rejected the warrant to international groups that welcomed it
World reaction spanned the spectrum, from Sudanese supporters (pictured here) who rejected the warrant to international groups that welcomed it

An International Criminal Court arrest warrant issued against Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir opened up a global divide on how war crimes justice is administered. Below, a sampling of world opinion, which highlights global disagreement over the ICC's decision:


Sudanese women demonstrating against the Bashir arrest warrant

Sudan said repeatedly it does not recognize the ICC and will ignore its requests. It has already refused to hand over two Sudanese men previously indicted by the court for alleged crimes in Darfur. Khartoum, vowing not to cooperate with The Hague-based court, responded to the ICC arrest warrant against Bashir by ordering the expulsion of 13 international aid organizations and three domestic groups arguing that they "threatened the security of Sudan" and helped the ICC in issuing the arrest warrant for crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur against President Bashir.

* Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM)

"Bashir and his Islamic fundamentalist government will never give up power. But the Sudan Liberation Movement and other believers in justice and human rights are ready to remove him from power through a popular uprising and a hundred other ways.... (The ICC decision) is a great victory for justice in the world, a great victory for the people of Darfur, for the hundreds of thousands of people who have been killed, raped and tortured by this regime," said SLM founder Abdel Wahed Nur

* Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM)

“Sudan should stand with Bashir at this hard time," said SPLM senior member Gier Chuang Aluong. Southern President Silva Kiir heads the SPLM.

* Justice and Equality Movement (JEM)

"Congratulations to all Sudanese... this is a historic day. We (JEM) support this decision completely. This is a victory for international law. Sovereignty does not protect the tyrants. We will cooperate with the ICC to execute this warrant. Omar al-Bashir must turn himself in now," said JEM senior commander Suleiman Sandal.

* Sudan Liberation Army (SLA)

"We have been waiting for this for a long time. But it has not come too late. We are very happy today. Now we are waiting for arrest warrants against the other government officials who are responsible for the crimes against humanity in Darfur - all the other members of the NCP (Bashir's dominant National Congress Party) ... Khartoum is going to react violently against Darfur's population. And we are ready to defend our people," said SLA leader Ahmed Abdel Shafie.

United Nations

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the Sudanese government to cooperate with the joint peacekeeping mission in Darfur despite the issuance of the arrest warrant against Bashir.

In a statement in reaction to the decision, Ban did not explicitly demand that Khartoum surrender the Sudanese leader to the ICC, but called on Khartoum to "address the issues of peace and justice" in a manner consistent with the 2005 resolution in which the U.N. Security Council referred the case of Darfur killing to the international court.

The Security Council was too divided to suspend the war crimes case against Sudan's president but an improvement in peace prospects in Darfur could one day break the deadlock.

Libya, the council's rotating president for the month of March, said the council is deadlocked on the issue.

Moscow and Beijing pushed for a suspension. But the United States, Britain and France -- which like Russia and China are permanent council members with veto powers -- said they see no reason to halt the process.

Regional Groups

The Arab League urged the Security Council to use its power to suspend the case against Bashir

* Arab League

The Arab League urged the Security Council to use its power under Article 16 of the ICC statute to suspend the case against Bashir to avoid undermining the fragile peace process in Darfur and a rocky 2005 north-south deal that ended a two-decade civil war. The Arabs also suggested they would ignore the arrest warrant if Bashir visits their countries. Jordan is the only Arab country that is a signatory to the ICC.

* African Union

Many African leaders say the investigation should be suspended. AU commission chairman Jean Ping said the warrant could threaten the fragile peace process in Sudan. "AU's position is that we support the fight against impunity, we cannot let crime perpetrators go unpunished," Ping said.

The AU leader said Africa was being selectively targeted "as if nothing were happening elsewhere -- in Iraq, Gaza, Colombia or in the Caucasus."

* Europe

Britain, France and Germany all urged Sudan to cooperate with the warrant and protect civilians and foreign non-governmental groups working in the African nation.

"We support the independent process that has led to this decision, which we fully respect. We have consistently urged the Government of Sudan to cooperate with the court over existing arrest warrants. We deeply regret that the government has not taken these allegations seriously or engaged with the Court, and we repeat today our call for its cooperation," said British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

"The German government supports the International Criminal Court as an independent organ of international justice. It guarantees that serious crimes do not go unpunished. I urge Sudan to respect the ICC decision and to react in a sober way. That includes sticking to international rules to protect foreign missions and non-governmental bodies," said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

"France underlines its support for the international criminal court. It calls on Sudan to cooperate fully with the court immediately to put into action the decision of the judges ... The fight against (legal) impunity is inseparable from the search for peace in Darfur as elsewhere in the world," said French Foreign Ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier.


Egypt said it was "greatly disturbed" by the warrant and called on the Security Council to "assume its responsibility towards maintaining peace and security in Sudan." Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit called on the U.N. Security Council to convene an emergency meeting with the aim of taking a decision on the activation of article 16 of the court's constitution to delay the indictment.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia said it was "disturbed" by the arrest warrant for Beshir on charges of crimes against humanity and pledged to stand by Sudan over threats to its sovereignty.

The United States

President Barack Obama warned of a worsening crisis in Darfur after Sudan expelled aid agencies

President Barack Obama warned of a worsening crisis in Darfur after Sudan expelled agencies that had been providing aid to displaced people. He stressed the importance of the international community sending a strong message to the Khartoum government that it was "not acceptable to put that many people's lives at risk."

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said: "The United States believes that those who have committed atrocities should be brought to justice as the ICC process continues."

Russell Feingold, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's subcommittee on African affairs, said President Obama must resist any effort to suspend the warrant.


Russia's special envoy to Sudan, Mikhail Margelov, said the warrant sets a "dangerous precedent." The "untimely decision... could have a negative effect both on the situation inside Sudan and on the general regional situation," he added.


Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan called on the Sudanese administration to cooperate in order to solve Sudan's problems. "We hope that the developments from now on will be rational developments and will aim to solve Sudan's problems on the ground. We do not desire to see developments which will increase problems in Sudan and push Sudan more into deadlock," he said.

Rights and aid groups

Rights groups saw the warrant as a breakthrough. "Not even presidents are guaranteed a free pass for horrific crimes. By ruling there is a case for President al-Bashir to answer for the horrors of Darfur, the warrant breaks through Khartoum's repeated denials of his responsibility," said Richard Dicker, a director of Human Rights Watch.

UNICEF spokeswoman Veronique Taveau said many aid groups had been working in parts of Darfur that are now not accessible to the U.N. agencies, raising risks that needy people will not get further assistance.

U.N. agencies said they could not fill the gap left by their NGO partners who handed out food aid, monitored for disease outbreaks, and provided clean water and healthcare across Darfur, a remote region roughly the size of France.

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