Sudan fights genocide charge

By July 15, 2008

Sudan (MNN) — The International
Criminal Court is charging Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir with
genocide. 

The prosecutor at the Hague
accused him of masterminding attempts to wipe out African tribes in Darfur with
a campaign of murder, rape and deportation.

The violence in Darfur has
left hundreds of thousands of people dead and 2.5 million displaced since 2003.

It's a groundbreaking case because
this filing is the first time prosecutors have issued charges against a current
head of state at the global war crimes court.

Peter VanderMeulen, coordinator
for Social Justice for the Christian Reformed Church in North America, says many
agencies support the move.  

However, efforts to arrest al
Bashir could spark a violent response throughout the region.  Already, thousands of protesters chanted
anti-American slogans at a rally in Khartoum to protest.

There are many Christian aid
groups working throughout the Darfur region and in other areas torn apart by
civil war. Concern for their safety and
freedom to work is building because of the association between the West and
Christians.

 "The initial reaction was very strong,"
VanderMeulen explains. "The statement
in the United Nations by the Sudanese ambassador called Mr. (Luis Moreno) Ocampo
a criminal. So it could get worse before it gets better. But at some point, I
think a decision has to be made. Is the
rule of international law a serious thing or is it not?" 

Sudan's ruling party predicts
more bloodshed in Darfur, and aid workers' safety could be compromised. VanderMeulen agrees that the international
community must act.

Believers, especially, are called
to prayer because "when you say, 'This has to happen
because it's the right thing to do. It's the just thing to do. It's the loving
thing to do,' when we say that as
believers, the power of the Gospel is proclaimed all over the world, not just
in Sudan."

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