Sudan’s Omar Bashir Deposed
Can the ICC get him into the dock?
Lost in the last 24 hour news cycle to Americans appears to have been the big, big news of Omar Bashir’s deposing in Sudan by a military coup. It’s news when a head of state loses his office, and it’s very big news when that head of state is an indicted war criminal.
Noteworthy is the fact the military doesn’t appear to be holding power in a caretaker status for peaceful transition, new elections, or restoration of a government in exile. Rather the defense minister has arrested Bashir, declared a 3 month state of emergency, imposed a month long curfew, closed borders, and prescribed a 2-year transition period.
The secession of South Sudan in 2011 weakened his grip on government and the economy. Recent months of protests finally forced the military’s hand.
Bashir was indicted in 2009 and 2010 by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity based on his government’s actions in Darfur, South Sudan, resulting in the deaths of over 400,000 people. Bashir was the sitting first head of state indicted by the ICC, a dubious distinction, to be sure.
The Sudanese military council has noted they have no intention to extradite Bashir to any foreign court, including the ICC, and have noted he might be tried domestically. There is probably no chance the UN Security Council will act to demand restoration of a civilian government or extradition, as Sudan and China — a P5 member with veto power — have very close ties. The refusal to extradite could be overcome by a rendition, but the nation with the most and best capabilities of effecting such a rendition, the United States, is openly hostile to the ICC and would do little to enhance its reputation or effectiveness.
End state prediction: Sudan stays under military rule for a year or more, no extradition, Bashir lives out his life in comfort with no accountability for his crimes, the ICC suffers another loss of prestige and credibility, and things don’t get much better for the Sudanese in either Sudan or South Sudan.