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Sudan’s next disaster


Sudan’s deposed military ruler Omar al-Bashir sits in a defendant’s cage during the opening of his corruption trial in Khartoum on August 19, 2019. – Bashir has admitted to receiving $90 million in cash from Saudi monarchs, an investigator told a Khartoum court today. PHOTO AFP

THE LAST WORD: Why the plan to hand Bashir over to the ICC is misguided and will likely be counterproductive

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | The new government of Sudan has given a major indication that it will hand its former president, Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague. The ICC indicted Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity. For many years, the government of Sudan backed by the African Union (AU) refused to hand him over. That the new administration is thinking of handing him over is a major betrayal of the African cause.

Since the ICC was created, it has only been concerned with the indictment of leaders of Africa. Powerful countries such as the USA, Russia and China that sit on the United Nations Security Council, the body mandated to approve such indictments, are not signatories of the Rome Statute which brought the ICC to life. Other powerful nations such as Britain and France have veto power in the Security Council to block any censure from the court.

So clearly, both in law and practice, the ICC was created to act as an institution through which the Western World can continue to exercise colonial-type control over African nations. This is why the leaders of the USA (such as presidents George Bush and Barack Obama), UK (Tony Blair and David Cameron) and France (Nicolas Sarkozy) who have committed similar war crimes and crimes against humanity in Iraq and Libya have never been indicted.

The failure of the ICC to apprehend leaders of these powerful nations demonstrates that this court was not set up to seek international justice but to act as an instrument to control how the nations of Africa are managed. After one African politician after another was arraigned before this court, many people came to see its actual purpose. African leaders and a few intellectuals began to drum this concern. The court lost credibility and has been silent for a while.

So why is the new administration of Sudan seeking to bring the ICC back to life? The defenders of ICC have always argued that African peoples are powerless before their own leaders who misrule them. That therefore the international community should take over the responsibility of looking after the interests of African peoples. This claim (that Africans are powerless and helpless before their leaders) is blind to reality and contradictory analytically.

For instance, governments in Africa regularly change and presidents who have ruled for long fall. Bashir is one such example as he was overthrown by a popular uprising; Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was another. In 2015, Blaise Compaoré; the long serving president of Burkina Faso, had succumbed. So the belief that Africans are powerless to get rid of their leaders is not rooted in fact but a misguided conviction among a particular section of the African elite.

Given that Africans have the power to remove long serving presidents – even those who appear invulnerable – why should we surrender the power to hold them accountable to the ICC? The case of Bashir is even the more inspiring because upon his removal, he was arrested and taken to jail where he faces charges of corruption and abuse of power. The overthrow of Bashir through a popular uprising and his subsequent arrest, detention and now trial in Sudanese courts is proof that Africans are not helpless victims of rapacious rulers in need of salvation from abroad.

Since independence and contrary to popular beliefs, Africans have always changed their leaders. In the 1960s, 70s and 80s, the main instrument of change was the military coup. Almost every year a government in Africa succumbed to a coup. In the 1990s armed rebellions toppled governments in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Eritrea, Ethiopia etc. and many others succumbed to popular protest. In fact nearly all the bad governments had been in power because of the protection accorded to them by Western powers through aid both military and economic.


  1. you are beginning to sound like the TV Africa and RT guys. All this western colonialist stuff! Get over it. BTW what about the Serbian and Yugoslav war criminals. Slobodan Milosovic ? where WAS HE tried? In Bosnia?

  2. I personally am surprised that this has happened given it is an open secret that bashirs security forces had American training. The vaunted nsis was built from the ground up with American aid!
    Given the American stance on the icc and our African problem with how the whole icc thing is like rattling bones to our beloved leadership, I am surprised there is an influential lobby in Sudan that can get this done.
    Kenya was extremely unique and has always been. Their conspiracies are within tight, loyal easy to manage circles whose members rarely fall out. This is unlike the rest of Africa where the so called opposition are either former abusers or (by their own testimony) future rights abusers.
    Perhaps Africa is, “growing a conscience”, and people are willing to matry themselves at the alter of justice. But even this is unlikely given the current machinations to protect whistle-blowers in Uganda which is obviously a roundabout way of getting immunity because as we know from experience, most whistle-blowers are disgruntled co-conspirators.
    I will watch and see how many glass houses get smashed if this Sudan icc thing really happens. Personally, I am more intrigued by the Ugandan (regional?) transition quagmire.

  3. Stupid article

  4. The fact that someone has escaped trial, is not an excuse for any leader to commit atrocities and genocide.
    Bashir & co have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Darfur region, killing more than 300 thousands innocent people. Bashir himself has confessed publicly to killing “only” ten thousands.
    Moreover, this war was fueled by Islamic radicalism and racism, which are considered terrorism all over the world.
    Being on the run for years, he has literally destroyed Sudan due to the imposed sanctions and listing the country as terror-sponser for decades.
    He should be handed over to the ICC, upon finalizing his ongoing corruption trials locally.

  5. corrupt mentality

  6. His name is Omer albashir not mohamed

  7. ejakait engoraton

    “Yet for over 70 years when nearly all of Africa was ruled by European powers not a single African country graduated from poverty. Indeed, in spite of all the failures of post independence Africa, opportunities to access public services such as education, health, electricity, clean water, roads etc. have been made available by governments in post independence Africa.”

    HOW long did it take most of EUROPE to develop itself? When and how long did it take to provide semi universal education, health, water, roads etc.In fact the likes of MWENDA are the ones who even bring out “facts” and figures to show that there is still poverty in EUROPE or the western world, and yet this same MWENDA expects that the Europeans would have wiped out poverty, starting from base zero, provided universal education, have tarmacked roads, let alone that there were only a handful of vehicles, within a period of 70 years.

    MWENDA sings til the cows come home, how we should appreciate what M7 has done in 33 years and still counting, and yet he does not want to appreciate what the colonialists, their faults notwithstanding, did in 70 years, under very hostile conditions.

    A glaring example is the fact that they built a railway line, in record time, and the visionary has not added an inch to it in his 30 year rule(unless you count the Port Bell extension) , in fact most of it has been uprooted under his watch, even the state house he lives in, after massive renovation, was built by the colonialists.

    • M7 once remarked that for the 70 year or so period the British were here they only constructed the Jinja dam. What has to be remarked is that by the time the British came here the scientific method used for generating electricity (electromagnetic induction) had just been discovered and there was not electricity in people’s homes even in UK or US. It took time. Mwenda and M7 can spin and spin but there is hardly anyone to be convinced

  8. Any disputes to your views might be motivated by western supremacy mind. This’s a right article that represents Africa’s position on ICC being an organization used by the narcissistic west to molest Africa. I am not saying that African leaders who had committed unimaginable atrocities during their atrocious rule had to be defended unreasonably from facing justice. I mean Africa should handle it justice cases internally like what was done to Chad’s former President Hissebe Habre in Dakar 2015. That was justice from our legal resources and was not at ICC. Mubarak was tried in Egypt, Mugabe had the same chance, Zuma Shall in SA, M7 may soon. Bashir should be tried in Africa. This argument is to empower our legal leverage on our competent Judges, Juries, Counsels, Legal Advocates, Lawyers et al. South Sudan will do the same thing as When time comes for our leaders to account for crimes committed during their tenure.

  9. Sometimes I wonder what goes on in Mwenda’s head. Otherwise, it is only war mongers, merchants of death (arm dealers) who defy the UN. And it is only the war criminals and criminals against humanity who condemn and defy the ICC.

    In other words it is simple: Andrew Mwenda is the agent and apologist of the African war crime and criminals against humanity.

  10. With time,ICC will have no clients. Why do i say so?
    1.Almost all the Militia groups still operating in Africa are shrouded with mystery for example;its alleged that Bashir supports the Janja Weed Militia that operates in Dafur at the same time its alleged that the conflict in Dafur is as a result of Khartoum government trying to impose Islam and Arab norms in Dafur while other sources think that the war in Dafur is as a result of environmental pressure and land ownership.The same case is with rebel groups operating in Chad.Tell me with such inconsistency Bashir will be vindicated?

    2. Leaders from Africa have mastered democracy they will win all elections whether fairly or not as they also amend the constitution.
    3.Gone are the days when the likes of Rajab would just join LRA these days;Africans value life alot.

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