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How long could it take for Sudan’s Bashir to be arrested?

-                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is being sought for war crimes in Darfur. Judges at the International Criminal Court in the Hague issued his arrest warrant last week, but if he is indeed to be arrested, long would it take.   It could be a while, if history is any guide.   Slobodan Milosevic, perhaps the most famous of sitting leaders indicted for war crimes while still in office, was indicted on May 24, 1999 and arrested nearly two years later, on April 1, 2001. Milosevic, who was being tried for war crimes during the messy breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, died in 2006 before his trial ended.   Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia being sought for war crimes and crimes against humanity, was indicted on March 3, 2003 and arrested three years later on March 29, 2006. Taylor is currently being tried in the Hague by the Special Court for Sierra Leone.   Milosevic and Taylor were still in power when they were indicted and arrest warrants issued, but they were both out of office by the time they were arrested. And with the 65 year-old Bashir still holding a firm grip on power in Sudan, it could take even longer for him to be arrested.   The ICC Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, accepted as much, after Bashir’s arrest warrant was issued, saying it  could take two months or two years, but he would still face justice.   Bashir has made it clear that he has no intention of surrendering to the court, which he refuses to recognise.   If arrested, Bashir would most likely be held in the Scheveningen detention centre in the Hague, where Taylor is cbeing held along with other detainees being tried by the various international courts in the Hague. Most detainees say they are well-treated and comfortable in detention, but one complaint that seems to crop up is the Dutch food.





Putting Africa on trial?


Look down the list of the cases the International Criminal Court is pursuing – Congo, Central African Republic, Darfur, Uganda – and it doesn’t take long to spot the connection.

Of the dozen arrest warrants the court has issued, all have been against African rebels or officials. On Monday, the court begins its first trial - of Thomas Lubanga, accused of recruiting child soldiers to wage a gruesome ethnic war in northeastern Congo. Earlier this month, former Congolese rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba was in court for a decision on whether to confirm charges of ordering mass rape to terrorise civilians in the Central African Republic.