EL BECHIR, Omar

In 1993, Omar Al Bashir became President of Sudan.

Born in 1944, the Sudanese head of state was raised in a farming family, in the village of Hosh Bonnaga. The future president’s career began when he joined the Sudanese military academy in 1963. He completed his training by joining the Egyptian Army, where he served in 1973, during the war against Israel.

Back in Sudan, he joined the southern rebels and reached the rank of general in the 1980s. In 1989, as leader of the junta, Omar al-Bashir took office by overthrowing the government in power. But even if the junta represented the new Sudanese power, it was chaperoned by the National Islamic Front, Hassan Al-Turabi’s political party, who pulls the strings.

Omar al-Bashir took more and more power and created an atmosphere of dictatorship by making multiple arrests and executions. In 1993 he proclaimed himself President of the Republic of Sudan and is « elected » for the first time in 1996. The head of state ousted Turabi, when he decided to return to power in 1999, declaring a state of emergency in the country.

Thanks to oil, Omar El Bashir’s Republic changed and lost its rogue state’s label. But in the 2000s chaos is still present in the country.  The head of state tried to negotiate with rebel groups in South and signed a peace agreement with the People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), which put an end to 21 years of war. Despite this main step, instability remains: indeed, civil war continues to devastate Darfur.

In 2008, President El Bashir is under an arrest warrant requested by the International Criminal Court (ICC). He is accused of having committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. However, if the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo claimed for an arrest warrant concerning genocide in Darfur, this charge was not accepted by the ICC. This was the first request to arrest a head of state in office.

In April 2010, we prepared the first multiparty elections in Sudan for 24 years. It is a major turning point which must make the transition to a democratic system. It also initiates the organization of self-determination referendum in Southern Sudan scheduled for January 2011. But the climate has been gradually deteriorated in the country. The boycott of election by opposition parties pointed up the President’s dictatorial character who threatened international observers in Sudan.