Posted by Kuku on 7:01 PM

The arrest warrant against the Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir seems to be imminent. The New York Times is reporting that the arrest warrant has been approved - but it seems the ICC is keeping it underraps as per this SudanTribune article. This could be a ploy by the ICC to keep the arrest warrant a secret, allowing them to arrest the President if he decides to go abroad and visit one of the member states of the Rome Statute, the agreement that created the court, without having publicly announced the arrest warrant. Or, they can simply still be in the process of working out the final details. Only time will tell. All the while, 'negotiations' between the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the government are taking place in Doha, Qatar. 

No one knows what (if any) tangible effects this arrest warrant will have on the peace talks and the situation in Sudan as a whole. Some, like Alex de Waal believe this could lead to a very dangerous situation

In my opinion, the effects of this indictment are going to be very serious. The reality is that the Khartoum government, led by Al-Bashir, has shown very little commitment to the peace process in Darfur and has been lagging on the implementation of the CPA. The indictment could have been postponed for a renewable one year period, under the behest of the UN Security Council. This possibility of postponing the arrest warrant (which is all but gone now) was the only incentive pushing the government to sit down with the same group that brazenly attacked Omdurman only last year. Without this incentive, the government will feel hemmed in even more and have no impetus to take serious action. 

Also, this arrest warrant has emboldened the rebels and given them more clout, especially for the ongoing negotiations in Doha. This is evident by the recent defiant warning by Khalil Ibrahim, the leader of the JEM, who claimed that if Al-Bashir does not hand himself over to the Hague-based court, the rebel group will arrest him personally and hand him over. This is obvious posturing and is very unhelpful, further isolating the hope for peace. 

If the arrest warrant goes ahead and is publicly announced, this will be a major setback for the NCP and could be the crippling blow many of the regime's enemies have been waiting for. It could set in motion a series of domino effects that could lead to the unravelling of the CPA, the further inflaming of the war in Darfur and the eventual breakup of the entire country. This is a very bleak outlook, but, it is unfortunately very plausible.