The International Criminal Court's prosecutor requested a warrant for the arrest of Umar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, alleging genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. If issued, it would be the body's first indictment against a sitting head of state. Many hail this as an important international step in stopping the bloodshed in Darfur.
The prosecutor, claiming Bashir took out his inability to defeat a rebellion on civilians, said:
Al-Bashir organized the destitution, insecurity, and harassment of the survivors. He did not need bullets. He used other weapons: rapes, hunger, and fear. As efficient, but silent.
Others, with hopes of a political settlement, prefer to tread lightly with Bashir and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon apparently called Bashir to let him know the ICC made its decision independent of the UN. But Darfur activists want the UN Security Council to use the legal maneuver as launching pad for further action. To see why, read more.
The President of Save Darfur implored the powerful Security Council to adopt a comprehensive strategy and act on the ICC warrants. Those wanting to see an end to the suffering in Darfur have good reason to doubt that warrants are enough — President Bashir promoted the last Sudanese official to be charged with similar crimes to be the minister of humanitarian affairs.