Bashir Wants INTERPOL to Arrest Rebel Leader

by Kevin Jon Heller

There’s hypocrisy, and then there’s Omar al-Bashir:

Sudan’s justice minister has asked Interpol to arrest the leader of Darfur’s most powerful rebel group, state media said on Monday, a step likely to dash hopes of progress in a faltering peace process.


The Sudanese Media Centre quoted Abdel Basit Sabderat as saying the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) leader, Khalil Ibrahim, should stand trial for an unprecedented May 2008 attack on the capital Khartoum, which killed around 200 people.

“The relevant authorities of Interpol have been requested to arrest him wherever he is so that he may face trial … and be handed over to the Sudanese authorities,” SMC quoted Mr. Sabderat as saying.

He urged “all concerned states not to shelter him and to extradite him to face trial”, SMC added. Mr. Sabderat was not immediately available to confirm the report.

Mr. Ibrahim has left Qatar-based peace talks and is visiting Cairo, an ally of Khartoum. JEM officials declined to comment.

SMC said Mr. Ibrahim was accused of some 14 charges including murder and waging war against the state.

Khartoum’s move against Mr. Ibrahim is likely to end progress in the peace talks, prompted by a rapprochement between Sudan and neighbour Chad, who had hosted Darfur’s rebels.

“This means peace process over,” said an international source familiar with the Darfur file who declined to be named.

Right-wing critics love to complain that the ICC’s arrest warrant for Bashir undermines the peace process in Darfur.  Now that Bashir himself has made clear he is much more interested in “justice” — such as it is in the Sudan — than peace, it will be interesting to see if they continue to make that argument.

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