African leaders issue a joint statement from a conference in Mauritania calling for the lifting of sanctions against Sudan. Bashir is among 11 leaders or government representatives at the meeting in Nouakchott of countries grouped by the “Great Green Wall” ecological initiative. The leaders do not specify which sanctions they want lifted.
For the sake of solidarity between the peoples of the member countries, the heads of state and government express their support for our sister republic of Sudan and call for the lifting of sanctions imposed on that country.
Three leading figures of a small Sudanese opposition group are given 20 lashes for disturbing the peace. The court convicts Sudanese Congress Party vice president Mastour Ahmed Mohamed and top officials Assem Omar and Ibrahim Mohamed, and the punishment is meted out even before defense lawyers arrive. The sentence – the first of its kind against the opposition since Bashir came to power – is carried out in Omdurman, the twin city of capital Khartoum. The three party members call before a crowd in an Omdurman marketplace for the release of 12 jailed colleagues.
South African media reports the Sudanese president’s aircraft is seen taking of, despite a court order barring his departure from the country. Sudan’s minister of information later say that Bashir was aboard the plane and was expected back in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, on Monday evening. Shortly before Bashir’s departure the High Court in Pretoria had demanded to know from government Advocate William Mokhari whether the government had complied with its order yesterday that Bashir not leave the country. Mokhari informs the court that there was no risk that Bashir would leave the country.
My instruction is that President Bashir has been invited to attend an AU summit which finishes today this evening so that if indeed President Bashir has come to attend the AU summit, I saw no risk whatsoever of President Bashir disappearing before he executes the business of his government which he has come here for.
In the first elections — for president, parliament and other local positions — in 24 years, Bashir wins with 68.24 percent of the vote, just under seven million votes. The voting is scrutinized by about 750 international and 18,000 domestic observers.
The ICC upholds the request of the chief prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo, to charge Bashir with war crimes and crimes against humanity. Moreno-Campo claimed 35,000 violent deaths were caused by Bashir’s government arming, training, and financing bands of Arab nomads to attack villages across Darfur, killing, raping and looting as they went. The army provided air and ground support. He also alleged Bashir committed genocide by trying to eliminate the Fur, Marsalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups, whom Bashir deemed supportive of the rebels. Moreno-Campo:
More than 30 witnesses will [testify] how he [Bashir] managed to control everything, and we have strong evidence of his intention.
While the judges dismiss the genocide charge, they indict Bashir on five counts of crimes against humanity: murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape. The two counts of war crimes are for directing attacks on the civilian population and pillaging. Bashir is the first national leader to be charged by the court. All states would be asked to execute the arrest warrant and if Sudan fails to cooperate the matter will be referred to the UN security council.
Sudan does not recognise the ICC, and Bashir says the court can “eat” the arrest warrant, which he describes as a western plot to hinder Sudan’s development. A Bashir aide describes the charges as:
neo-colonialism … They do not want Sudan to become stable.
Elections are held for a president and a new National Assembly from March 2-28, the first since the coup. 125 members of the 400-seat National Assembly are nominated before the election, leaving 275 seats to be elected (of which 51 were ultimately uncontested). There are no political parties — all candidates ran as independents. Leaders of the Sudan’s main opposition parties, disbanded when Bashir took power, boycott elections. Ousted Prime Minister Mahdi, calls the elections a cheap attempt by the Government to buy legitimacy.
Bashir is elected president with 75.7% of votes. He will serve a five-year term, after which he will be allowed to run once more. He tells the crowd:
We have fully returned power in full to the people.
The New York Times reports the power behind Bashir’s government is widely believed to be the militant Muslim cleric Turabi, who is elected to a seat in Parliament in Khartoum.
Sudan announces return to civil rule and appoints Bashir as president. Before disbanding, the Council issues a decree specifying that Islamic law will be the basis of Sudan’s political system, but guaranteeing freedom of religion. The Council’s deputy leader says the move is necessary “to put a framework for the government.”
Bashir leads fellow officers in a mutiny against Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi. The coup is also aimed at preventing the signing of a peace treaty with John Garang’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). Bashir opposed the plan, which would have allowed secular law, instead of Sharia, in the south. He says in a televised communique that the coup is:
to save the country from rotten political parties.
He claims himself chairman of Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) and signs a constitutional decree dismissing the government and other state bodies. Further decrees dissolve political parties and trade unions, and impose a state of emergency and a ban on demonstrations against the “revolution of national salvation”