(Photo credit: REUTERS)

The big news story of the day is clearly the issuance of an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir, the current President of Sudan, by the International Criminal Court on on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. For now, he appears to have escaped an accusation of the big G word, but charges of Genocide may be added at a later date. This is a historical moment for international law as this is the first time the ICC has issued the arrest of a sitting head of state.

What will all this mean for the people of the Darfur? In some ways, likely not all that much. The arrest warrant will be given to the Government of the Sudan and it will be up to them to decide whether to hand him over or not. I am going to take a stab in the dark on this one and say that in all likelihood they won’t respect it, and perhaps aside from taking less international trips, not much may change for President al-Bashir. al-Bashir told the ICC earlier today that they could “eat” their warrant.

There has been a lot of speculation as to how Sudan may respond in retaliation to this arrest warrant. One of the first things they did, however, was to expel the Dutch portion of the Non-Governmental Organization MSF. It is no coincidence that they kicked the Dutch out as the ICC is headquartered in the Hague. The organization is currently delivering health services to hundreds of thousands of people and it is not clear if anything will be able to come in and fill in. Other international health organizations and aid agencies are likely to follow.

To read more about the expulsion of MSF, click here.

Update: It appears as though Oxfam, CARE, and Mercy Corps have also been expelled.

Click here to read the NYTimes coverage.

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1 Response » to “The ICC, Omar al-Bashir, and what it may mean for health in the Darfur and Sudan”

  1. Alanna says:

    I wonder if any of the remaining NGOs are collecting data on the health impact of the expulsion? It would be useful data to demonstrate program impact. Not exactly a silver lining, but something to get from this grim situation.

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