The International Criminal Court's decision to issue a warrant of arrest for Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir for alleged war crimes in Darfur epitomises lost opportunities, broken promises and a shifting agenda.
Following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between Sudan's government and the Sudanese People Liberation Army-Movement in 2005, a new peace process was launched with mediation from the AU, UN and Nigeria. The talks involved Sudan's Government of National Unity, Justice and Equality of Movement and both factions of the Sudan Liberation Army.
Out of this came a proposed peace deal modelled on the CPA. The government and main SLM faction signed the Darfur Peace Agreement in May 2006. The other two refused to sign. The AU endorsed the DPA as final and binding, giving the non-signatories an ultimatum to sign or face sanctions, which were never implemented. Instead, the most defiant leader opposing peace, Abdul-Wahid Nour, is sheltered by France and actively supported by Israel.
The world court's threat constitutes a serious threat to the CPA by targeting al-Bashir who is in the post by virtue of the CPA, has stalled peace by hardening the armed movements opposition to peace and undermines democratisation of Sudan that was to hold elections this year.
Moosa Tahir, Sudanese Embassy, Pretoria