The Current

Sudan's President charged with war crimes may be re-elected

Sudan's Omar al-Bashir has been a wanted man for seven long years, and yet he's up for re-election. A leader operating with impunity as his fighters terrorize civilians in a wave of violence engulfing Darfur.
He's the only sitting president to be indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court. And yet President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan is expected to win re-election in a vote next month. (AP Photo/Ali Ngethi, File)

Darfur seized the attention of many around the world.

The United States declared the situation a genocide and the United Nations referred the case to the International Criminal Court. It was as though the world galvanized around the tragedy of Darfur, and collectively shouted "stop"!

But as the world's attention has drifted elsewhere, the dying in Darfur has not stopped. The U.N. estimates that some 300,000 people have been killed in the fighting there between rebels and government forces.

And today, Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, is campaigning for re-election. He's widely expected to win... despite having been charged with genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Human Rights groups in the area say there's now a fresh wave of violence, including mass rapes, underway in Darfur, forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes.

According to Human Rights Watch, Sudanese soldiers raped more than 200 women and girls in the town of Tabit in October. Samantha Power, the American ambassador to the UN, raised the issue before the Security Council last month.

"The one time the peacekeepers were permitted to reach Tabit, Sudanese military and intelligence officials refused to let them interview alleged rape victims in private. To this day, the government of Sudan has shamefully denied the UN the ability to properly investigate this incident." - Samantha Power, American Ambassador to the UN

Sudan denies those allegations... and the country is proceeding with elections planned for next month, which opposition groups and observers have decried as a scam.

Daniel Sullivan is a longtime advocate for human rights in Sudan. He is the Director of Policy and Government Relations with United to End Genocide, an advocacy group formed in response to the violence in Darfur more than 10 years ago. He was in Washington, DC. 

Ahmed Adam is a former Sudanese politician and scholar from Darfur. He is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for African Development at Cornell University and he's writing a book called "Darfur Betrayed". Ahmed Adam was in Ithaca, New York. 

A general election in Sudan is expected to take place as planned next month ... and the man who's already been in power for the past quarter century, President Omar al-Bashir, is expected to win that election handily... if not fairly. Opposition parties say they may boycott the vote, which they describe as neither free nor fair.

David Smith is the Africa correspondent for The Guardian and he has been covering that part of the story. He was in Johannesburg, South Africa, today. 

This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino and Lara O'Brien. 


♦ Failing the People of Darfur - Huffington Post

♦ Why is the world blind to the fresh threat of genocide in Darfur? - The Guardian

♦ Sudan election is 'propaganda', says rebel leader - The Guardian

♦ Omar al-Bashir celebrates ICC decision to halt Darfur investigation - The Guardian

George Clooney on Sudan’s Rape of Darfur

It's safe to say that part of the reason we're talking about it Darfu today is because of a recent op-ed published in the New York Times, by the Oscar winning actor George Clooney. He's been using his celebrity to bring attention to the region for years now,  including an incident in 2012 when he and his father, Nick Clooney, were arrested while protesting at the Sudanese embassy in Washington, D.C. 

Here is a video from the press conference he and his father held after being released from their short stint in prison.