KHARTOUM, March 5 (Xinhua) -- The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, accusing him of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The warrant has not only touched off indignation from the Sudanese government, but also concern in the international community.
WARRANT HITS SUDAN'S NERVE
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Khartoum on Thursday to show their support for al-Bashir and the Sudanese government. They chanted slogans such as "Khartoum, rise against injustice" and "Go, go, al-Bashir" protesting the ICC's verdict.
In response to the ICC warrant, the Sudanese government on Thursday expelled 10 foreign aid agencies, including Britain's Oxfam and Save the Children, U.S.-based Care, CHF and International Rescue Committee, the Netherlands' Medecins Sans Frontiers and Norway's Refugee Council.
HOW TO ARREST
The Sudanese government has reiterated several times that the ICC has no jurisdiction over Sudan, because the country is neither a member of the tribunal nor a party which ratified the Rome Statute that set up the tribunal.
At the same time, the two groups of international peacekeeping forces currently stationed in Sudan do not have the power to carryout the ICC's decision.
In the U.N. Security Council, those supporting forcible arrest and those demanding reprieve also do not enjoy absolute majority. A prolonged battle between the two forces is foreseen without a possible quick outcome.
In these circumstances, although Bashir is under the protection of the Geneva Convention as head of state, he will not make overseas visits without the guarantees of other countries.
On the other hand, Bashir enjoys broad support at home and the arrest warrant will seemingly not undermine the foundation of his administration.
The negative effects of the arrest warrant are not to be ignored. Some analysts have expressed concern that the issuing of the warrant sets a precedent, which might leave some weak third world countries on edge, worrying whether they might one day become the next target of some Western powers.
According to the analysts, the issuing of the arrest warrant is just one step taken by the Western powers against Sudan, and could be followed by others.
There are also grounds to worry that the anti-government forces in the Darfur region, encouraged by the warrant, may not only obstruct the peace process, but also seize the opportunity to carry out armed sabotage activities.
What is more, so long as the warrant is not put on hold or revoked, it will in a way restrict the efforts of the al-Bashir administration to make peace and promote development.
The Islamic Conference Organization headquartered in Jedda, Saudi Arabia issued a statement on Wednesday in which it rejected and condemned the ICC's decision.
On the same day, the Arab League (AL) Secretary-General, Amr Moussa, said the league is "deeply concerned" about the ICC decision, and the African Union (AU) Commission chairperson, Jean Ping, said in a statement he was deeply concerned at "the far-reaching consequences of this decision, which comes at a critical juncture in the process to promote lasting peace, reconciliation and democratic governance in Sudan."
Some African countries have purportedly threatened to give up their ICC membership in protest against its decision to issue the arrest warrant.