Sudan lawmakers postpone meeting on Bashir term limits

A Sudanese parliamentary committee has postponed a meeting on amending the country’s constitution to allow President Omar Al-Bashir to run for a new term, state media reported Saturday. (File/AFP)
Updated 16 February 2019
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Sudan lawmakers postpone meeting on Bashir term limits

  • The session, set for Sunday, has been shelved for the time being, the official SUNA news agency said
  • Bashir, who is facing deadly nationwide protests against his three-decade rule, is considering running for a third term in elections scheduled for next year

KHARTOUM: A Sudanese parliamentary committee has postponed a meeting on amending the country’s constitution to allow President Omar Al-Bashir to run for a new term, state media reported Saturday.
The session, set for Sunday, has been shelved for the time being, the official SUNA news agency said, without giving a new date.
Bashir, who is facing deadly nationwide protests against his three-decade rule, is considering running for a third term in elections scheduled for next year.
But for that to happen, lawmakers must amend the country’s constitution, which currently allows presidents two five-year terms.
“The committee’s meeting has been postponed and a new date will be announced,” SUNA reported.
Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and its allies have an overwhelming majority in parliament, and in August the party named the veteran leader as its candidate for the 2020 poll.
The parliamentary committee was formed in late 2018 to consider the constitutional amendments necessary to keep Bashir in power, and it was set to meet Sunday for the first time.
Bashir, 75, swept to power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989, but he faced his first multi-party election in 2010.
In 2015, he took 94 percent of the vote in the face of opposition boycotts. He later said he would not run for a third term.
Rights groups have said both elections lacked credibility.
Bashir has proved to be a political survivor, facing down both domestic and international challenges over the years, but since December 19 he has faced daily nationwide rallies against his rule.
Analysts say the ongoing protest movement is the biggest threat Bashir has faced since coming to power, with demonstrators calling for his resignation.
Protesters chanting “freedom, peace, justice,” have taken to the streets daily, blaming Bashir for the country’s dire economic conditions.
Officials say 31 people have died in protest-related violence so far, while Human Rights Watch has put the death toll at 51.
Bashir has remained defiant, saying the ballot box is the only route through which a government can be changed.


Syria force calls for international court to try Daesh extremists

Updated 18 min 9 sec ago
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Syria force calls for international court to try Daesh extremists

  • SDF said this is a way to organize fair and just tribunals
  • The group said they do not have the capability to hold the detainees

AIN ISSA, Syria: US-backed forces in Syria Monday called for the establishment of an international court in the country to try suspected Daesh group extremists.

The announcement came two days after the militant group’s “caliphate” was declared defeated.

“We call on the international community to establish a special international tribunal in northeast Syria to prosecute terrorists,” the Syrian Democratic Forces said in a statement.

In this way, “trials can be conducted fairly and in accordance with international law and human rights covenants and charters,” it said.

Syria’s Kurds have previously warned that despite the demise of the Daesh proto-state, the thousands of foreign extremists they have detained are a time-bomb the world urgently needs to defuse.

According to the SDF, more than 5,000 militants — Syrian and foreign — have been captured since January.

The Kurdish administration in northeastern Syria has warned it does not have capacity to detain so many people.

But the home countries of suspected Daesh members are reluctant to take them back, due to potential security risks and the likely public backlash.

“The Kurdish administration in northeast Syria has appealed to the international community to shoulder its responsibilities toward members of the terrorist organization detained by Kurdish security forces,” read Monday’s statement.

“But unfortunately there was no response,” it said.

It called on the international community, particularly countries that have nationals detained, to support the establishment of an international tribunal, calling for legal and logistical cooperation and coordination.

In the past, two international tribunals were created by the international community: the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which tried genocide perpetrators in the African country, and the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which tried those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in wars that tore apart the Balkans in the 1990s.