Will Sudan's Omar al-Bashir finally face justice?

Will Sudan's Omar al-Bashir finally face justice?

Sudan's former strongman president, Omar al-Bashir, has spent years evading justice for alleged war crimes committed almost two decades ago. But the ex-dictator now seems set to face the music after Sudan's transitional government said that it would hand the 76-year-old over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face charges including an allegation of genocide. Here's what you need to know about Omar al-Bashir and the events that led him here.

The wily and brutal Omar al-Bashir assumed power in Sudan in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989, and quickly ramped up the Arab-dominated government's long-running war against black and Christian separatists in the country's oil rich South. Al-Bashir, who was ousted by mass protests against his longstanding autocracy last year, has been wanted by the top international court since 2009 over mass atrocities committed by government militia in the western region of Darfur, where 300,000 people were killed and almost 3 million were displaced.


Since being pushed from power, Al-Bashir has been sentenced by a Sudanese court to two years in a correctional facility on corruption charges (in Sudan people over the age of 70 can't serve jail terms) but his years of alleged crimes against humanity have not been reckoned with.

Until recently, many Sudanese had given up hope of seeing al-Bashir handed over for a genocide trial, particularly after members of Sudan's old guard – several of whom took part in the Darfur campaigns and could potentially face their own war crimes charges at The Hague – joined the civilian-military body currently overseeing Sudan's three-year transition period.

So, why are they giving him up now?

In pursuit of peace with Sudan's rebels: For months, Sudan's transitional government has been locked in peace talks with Darfuri rebel groups, trying to end a decades-long bloody stalemate. A temporary ceasefire is already in place, but handing over all those wanted in connection with the Darfur atrocities is part of the deal being negotiated with rebels. A breakdown in peace talks with the country's various rebel factions could undermine the country's extremely precarious transition.

Money, money, money: Decades of government corruption, as well as crippling US sanctions imposed for human rights abuses and support for terrorism, have choked Sudan's economy – inflation in Sudan is currently running around 63 percent. As the economy teeters on the brink of collapse, Sudan's government wants to be removed from the US sponsors of terrorism list, which would open it up to investment and much needed debt relief. The US says it's open to the idea, but not immediately. Bringing al-Bashir to justice could speed that process.

A new day in Sudan? Sudan's transitional government has taken some meaningful steps to recast its image on the world stage – including Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok's recent visit to the war-torn rebel stronghold in the Nuba Mountains, opening it up to foreign aid after years of restricted humanitarian access. While details surrounding al-Bashir's potential extradition remain murky, sending him to face international justice would allow Sudan's new government to bridge rifts between its civilian and military wings, as well as burnish its reformist image at home and abroad.

Vaccines are the best hope to end the COVID-19 pandemic. But rich countries are hogging most of the doses, with more than 83 percent of shots administered to date having gone to residents in high- and upper-middle-income countries. Most poor countries will have to wait years to achieve widespread vaccination, according to one study.

To address this inequity some stakeholders are pushing hard for waivers to intellectual-property (IP) rights through World Trade Organization trade rules so that manufacturers in poorer countries can make their own vaccines locally. India and South Africa have been leading the charge, which would essentially mean that deep-pocketed pharma companies like New York-based Pfizer, for instance, would have to hand over the keys to the kingdom, allowing local companies in New Delhi and Johannesberg to make generic versions of their vaccines.

Unsurprisingly, the debate has gotten fiery, with passionate arguments emerging both for and against.

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What are the Russians up to against Ukraine?

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50: The US will aim to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent from 2005 levels by the end of the decade. The Biden administration's commitment, double the goal set by Barack Obama almost six years ago, was announced to coincide with a virtual Earth Day climate summit attended by dozens of world leaders.

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What's the red line? Putin says he'll decide on a case-by-case basis. And the cases at the moment are growing: the US has sanctioned Russia over cyber crimes; Putin critic Alexei Navalny is near death in a Russian prison; the Czechs say Russia blew up a Czech munitions depot; and as many as 120,000 Russian troops are reported to be massing along Russia's border with Eastern Ukraine.

Which is to say: there's potentially a Sol Lewitt's-worth of red lines to ponder now.

Europe has been hit by a green wave in recent years. Green parties in countries as varied as Germany, Belgium, France, Ireland, Finland, and Sweden have made sizable electoral gains, with some now sitting in national governments.

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More than 930 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have already been administered globally, and another 1 billion more are expected to be manufactured by the end of May. Most of the manufacturing is concentrated in a small group of countries. While some — like China, for instance — are exporting roughly half of the shots they make, others — mainly the US — are keeping most of the supply for domestic use. Meanwhile, export controls have been a particularly thorny issue in the European Union and India, where governments have come under intense pressure to stop sending vaccines to other parts of the world amid sluggish rollouts at home. We take a look at what the world's top manufacturers are doing with the vaccines they are producing.

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