The President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, is the only acting state official in the world who is indicted for crimes against international law. The International Criminal Court has issued two arrest warrants to date containing charges against him.
In the first of these arrest warrants he is charged with the widespread and systematic attack on the population of Darfur committed in the period from 2003 until 2008. Hundreds of thousands of non-Muslim civilians and soldiers were victims of murder, forcible transfer, rape, torture, and pillaging in this period, which is considered a crime against humanity and a war crime. As the President of the Republic of Sudan and the de jure and de facto Commander-in-Chief of the forces which committed the crimes in question, Omar al-Bashir is charged with seven counts of the indictment for these of these crimes.
The second arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court’s Pre-Trial Chamber decided, having examined the supporting evidence provided by the Prosecution, to issue a new arrest warrant, which includes charges for genocide committed against the population of Darfur. In three counts of the indictment, the President of Sudan is charged with the commission of genocide by killing, causing serious bodily or mental harm, and by deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the victimized group’s physical destruction.
According to the assessment of the United Nations, approximately 300,000 people were killed, and over two million people were forced to leave their homes, as part of the Government of Sudan’s counter-insurgency campaign in Darfur during the period covered by the indictment against Al-Bashir.
The first arrest warrant was issued in March 2009 and the second in July 2010. To date, the accused has refused to surrender.
Omar al-Bashir does not have a lot of friends in the world, even though some countries have refused or failed to extradite him to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Omar al-Bashir is a friend of Serbia. This friendship is still developing and becoming stronger. The other day, on the occasion of celebrating the Serbian Day of statehood, President Tomislav Nikolić awarded him with the Medal of the Republic of Serbia for accomplishments in developing and strengthening peaceful cooperation and friendly ties between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Sudan”.
The Republic of Serbia is a signatory of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Tomislav Nikolić has awarded countless medals to individuals both known and unknown. One could say this has been the area in which he has been most active since becoming president in 2012. He has awarded national orders and medals to a number of controversial world leaders including Hugo Chavez and Alexander Lukashenko, as well as former French intelligence officer Pierre-Henry Bunel, who was sentenced in his home country to five years in prison for treason (because in 1999, as a member of a NATO delegation, he provided important military documents to the Serbian side). The Chief of General Staff in Serbia, Ljubiša Diković, was awarded a national order following the publishing of the Dossier by the Humanitarian Law Center, in which evidence was reconstructed on the participation of his 37th motorized brigade in the crimes committed in Kosovo in 1999 and the cleaning of the terrain following these crimes.
Tomislav Nikolić has done many things that one would consider unthinkable. But to award Omar al-Bashir with a medal is still something altogether exceptional.
The author is a researcher in the Humanitarian Law Center.
Translated by Bojana Boskovic