Recently the former Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir has been sentenced to two years in detention after being found guilty of corruption, receiving illegal gifts and possessing foreign currency. Activists like me are not surprised by this far too lenient decision of the court, which supported Al-Bashir during the period of his dictatorship.
The leaders of the Sudanese revolution have consented to a socalled power-sharing agreement with the same Al-Bashir regime that oppressed and killed us for 30 years. Five men who were in the security committee of the Al-Bashir regime, now take part in the transitional government that is supposed to represent all Sudanese people, so also the millions of victims of this regime. I think this is not going to work. This is not a solid road to freedom and democracy. Instead, this exposes the Sudanese people to the danger of counterrevolution. Sudan is still in the hands of criminals and thieves. When we, as revolutionaries, were debating the future of Sudan, we had the free and democratic choice of the people in mind. And we wanted to fight for a country of checks and balances between executive, legislative and judicial powers.
The verdict of the court does not convince the Sudanese people, because Al-Bashir is not judged the way the Sudanese people – especially the victims of the dictator – want him to be judged. The court judged Al-Bashir the way it thought it would be convenient for him, under these circumstances. If this court can sentence Al-Bashir, why did they not stop him when he was committing the genocide? Why couldn’t the governments of all African countries, and the African Union, which is criticizing the International Criminal Court (ICC), stop the Al-Bashir regime? Where were they during the genocide in Sudan? They were just watching when our houses were bombed with chemical weapons. And now suddenly they think it is a good time for them to talk about justice and accountability.
The Sudanese people want Al-Bashir to be punished by the ICC. The verdict of the Sudanese court is extremely humiliating to the victims of the former dictator and his regime. It is a punch in their face. Millions of displaced people are still living a miserable life in detention centers, which officially are called refugees camps. A life without education, health care and security. A life of starvation and dehydration. The verdict hurts and insults millions of people in the marginalized regions in Sudan, like Darfur. In the past the people of Darfur fought against the colonizers and brought independence to Sudan. And now they must confront the impunity of Al-Bashir concerning the genocides he is responsible for.
The constitution of Sudan defines that prosecution of someone older than seventy years is not allowed. Therefore the court sentenced Al-Bashir to two years of detention, a minimum punishment after which he will be released and will be put in a retirement home. That is a shame, and it is also a shame that he is not prosecuted for genocides, but only for economic corruption.
I am a survivor of the Darfur genocide. I have seen women being raped between the age of seventy to eighty and young girls, which is more aggressive than the killings! I have seen that the perpetrators collected people of sixty years and older who couldn’t move, and babies who couldn’t even walk. They were imprisoned, burned and murdered.
Al-Bashir must be delivered to the ICC and get a much more severe penalty. But the debate about the accountability of Al-Bashir seems to end with a retirement home. Without justice Sudan won’t go forward. Now there is a generational conflict between the people older than 50 years, who want the islamic government to continue, and the young generation, which wants freedom and democracy. I belong to the young generation and we will fight for victory. We want to get rid of the system of racism, discrimination and marginalization. Our revolution will continue. The old backbones of the Al-Bashir regime are trying to divide and conquer. Some protesting people hold the flags of political parties, but we hold the flag of unity. We will keep on fighting to achieve the dreams of the Sudanese people.