Sudan’s Omar Bashir steps down after four months of protests

Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir, who ruled for three decades, has stepped down and is under house arrest following escalated protests and military interventions. Earlier today, Sudan’s armed forces asked the nation to “wait for an important statement they want to deliver” on the country’s state TV. A few hours later, the state TV reported that the military had forced the president to call it quits.

With the news of his ouster, the thousands who staged a peaceful sit-in protest at his residence cum military headquarters rejoiced, clapping and flashing the letter “V” for victory. However, protesters vowed to remain in the streets until the “regime steps down completely and power is handed to a civilian transitional government.”

Omar al-Bashir came to power in Sudan in 1989, when he lead a coup against the then Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi. After a successful coup, he dissolved the government, political parties, trade unions and declared himself chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council.

A year later, there was a failed coup attempt against him, for which he ordered the execution of more than 30 army and police officers implicated in the failed takeover.

After 30 years in power, escalation of anti-government protests and the involvement of the military successfully led to him stepping down. Even
Al-Bashir’s ban on unauthorized public gatherings and imposing a state of emergency in March did not deter the people, neither did it prevent his ouster.

The months of protests which initially began in December 2018 and then spiralled into calls to end Bashir’s rule, have plunged Sudan into its worst crisis in years. The protests resulted in clashes between the soldiers trying to protect protesters and the security personnel, leaving 11 dead including six members of the armed forces on Tuesday, April 9.

Al-Bashir, who is a pariah in many countries, is wanted by the international war crimes tribunal after allegations of genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region surfaced and his ouster has led to various reactions, mostly jubilations, however, there has also been speculations and counter opinions on social media.

According to Sergey Vasiliev, an international and criminal lawyer, there is a likelihood that the military would provide cooperation to the International Criminal Courts and surrender the president as Bashir “cannot claim personal immunity as a sitting head of state cited by ICC.”

Good thread. But we should ready ourselves for the real possibility that #Sudan will neither try #Bashir nor turn him over to the #ICC. Seriously doubt the military will want to set that precedent. Without unlikely UNSC support, there will be no consequences for just temporising.— Kevin Jon Heller (@kevinjonheller) April 11, 2019

Speaking to Associated Press, two unnamed officials, who hold high positions in the government and the military, said the army was now in talks about forming a transitional government while Bashir is under the close watch of his newly replaced security.