The South Sudanese government’s intention to invite the president of north Sudan, Omar Al Bashir, to attend independence celebrations has sparked serious debate among the citizens of South Sudan.
One group believes that, what will be the Republic of South Sudan as of the 9 July, has a moral obligation to arrest Bashir and hands him to International Criminal Court (ICC). Another group believes Bashir should be allowed to celebrate and acknowledge the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
The CPA was signed by north and South Sudan, ending more than two decades of civil war. A stipulation of the agreement was the right of the South Sudanese to vote in a plebiscite. They voted overwhelmingly in favour of secession in January 2011.
Bashir has an arrest warrant against his name for crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur.
According to reports, the group that is opposed to Bashir presence at the celebrations has been organized by relatives of the 1992 Juba massacre. The group affirms that the relatives of the victims are preparing to protest against Bashir if he turns up.
“The widows are planning to walk naked into the venue of the celebration if Bashir is among the world leaders”, said one widow.
“The world will witness protests against Bashir that day. We will walk naked to the celebration venue unless we are promised that Bashir will be arrested and taken to the ICC for the charges of genocides and atrocities against humanity,” she explained.
Sudan People’s Liberation Movement secretary for political affairs, Antipas Nyok Kucha has suggested that Bashir will be the first leader to come and recognise Southern independence.
Before the independence vote in January 2011 Bashir said he would “congratulate and celebrate with you” to the people of South Sudan, should they choose to vote in favour of secession. The rhetoric has soured, with regards to the controversial Abyei over, which north and south Sudan are claiming ownership, Abyei is moalmost entirely popu;ated by the southern Dinka people who do not wish to be a part of north Sudan. Bashir said he was willing to return to war with the south.