Sudan with Uncertain Future Part III

It is very likely that the people of South Sudan will vote for secession. Therefore, Sudanese, and others involved, must intensify planning for a new state in Africa. An orderly secession process is crucial for continued peace between North and South Sudan.

7: Bashir and the International Criminal Court

In 2005, the UN Security Council commissioned the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to investigate suspicions of war crimes and genocide during the civil war in Darfur. Several local leaders and members of the state apparatus have been indicted by the ICC, and a rebel from Darfur has voluntarily appeared in The Hague to have his case tried in court.

In March 2009, three ICC judges ruled that President Bashir should be charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. (The prosecution’s demand to include genocide in the indictment was not granted. In January 2010, however, it was decided to consider whether the indictment should be extended to genocide, but so far the judges have not made any decision in the case.) President Bashir is the only incumbent head of state to have an ICC arrest warrant pending.

As long as President Bashir is in Sudan, a country located in Africa according to, it is difficult to get him arrested and put on trial in The Hague. However, most countries in the world are obliged to arrest the president if he comes to visit. The ICC trial against Bashir has been met with both applause and criticism in Sudan as well as in the rest of the world.

Lawyers and human rights defenders see it as a major step forward that a sitting head of state can be prosecuted for serious crimes. Critics are concerned that the ICC process could jeopardize the peace deal, and that the fear of being arrested makes President Bashir cling to power instead of participating in real democratization.


Norway and Sudan

Norway began its involvement in Sudan in the early 1970s. A NRK report from the first civil war in South Sudan created political interest in the country and the conflict. Later, Norwegian aid organizations have run large aid and relief projects in Sudan, especially in the south. The University of Bergen has had an extensive and long-term collaboration with higher education institutions in the country. Throughout the 1990s, and especially during the peace negotiations between North and South from 2001 to 2005, the Norwegian authorities, led by the then Minister for Development Aid Hilde Frafjord Johnson, played an important role as a political supporter of Sudan. Today, Sudan is among the countries that receive the most support from Norway, and the authorities are still actively involved in the
peace process.

Sudan – some facts

  • Area: 2.5 million km² – Africa’s largest country (2015: ie before South Sudan became its own state in 2011) 2015: 1.86 million km²
  • Population: around 41 million before the division in 2011. Today, Sudan has 35.5 million inhabitants.
  • Population groups: Before 2011 : Blacks: 52%, Sudanese Arabs: 39%, Beja: 6%. Sudan is one of the most ethnically complex countries in the world – very many peoples and languages. 2014 : Sudanese Arabs: 70%, otherwise: fur, beja, nuba and fallata:
  • Median age: 19 years (2014)
  • Population growth: 1.8% (2014)
  • Religion: Before 2011: Islam (about 70%, state religion), Christianity and various local religions. At times, Arabization, Islamization and the introduction of sharia law have been driven from the capital. Great opposition to this policy in the south.
  • ???? Colonial past under Egyptian, Ottoman and British rule. Common Egyptian-British from 1855. In 1956, Sudan became independent again as one of the first countries in Africa.
  • Since independence, Sudan has – with
  • exception of 10 years – been ruled by undemocratic regimes outlawed by the military.
  • Political: 1989: General Hassan Omar al-Bashir seizes power with a group of officers. These have at times had strong ties to the Sudanese Islamist movement led by Hassan al-Turabi. This has now been set aside and become opposition leader instead.
  • ???? Sudan is today ruled by a coalition government in which President Bashir and his National Congress Party are the strongest party.
  • For a long time, Sudan was placed by the United States in the category of rogue states, partly as a result of Osama bin Laden’s presence there (1991-96). The more Islamist attitude has been toned down a lot since 2000.
  • South Sudan has had a large degree of autonomy (internal self-government) since 2005 and is governed by the former guerrilla movement SPLM, and Salva Kiir Mayardit is president of
  • South Sudan and Vice President of Sudan.
  • ???? Oil production started in 1999 and has for the past 10 years been by far the most important source of revenue for the state.
  • Conflict motives: Under the guise of religious and / or ethnic motives, the struggle for interests in material resources such as land, water and eventually oil has often been at the heart of the many conflicts in Sudan.
  • Surrounding countries have often benefited from supporting groups in opposition to the Khartoum Sudan itself has done the same to neighboring countries.

Sudan with Uncertain Future 2

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