A day after Sudan president Omar al-Bashir threatened to cut the fingers off election observers, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, called Sudan’s upcoming vote “a Hitler election.”
Mr. Moreno-Ocampo, who seeks to prosecute Mr. Bashir for crimes committed in Sudan's troubled Darfur region during a war that killed at least 1.9 million people, today said election observers face “a big challenge” in Sudan.
Bashir is running in the legislative, regional, and presidential elections set for April, the first multi-party vote in 24 years. Last week, however, foreign observers recommended to delay the elections. The Atlanta-based Carter Center voiced concern that Sudan’s election commission can deliver a successful election on time, as the Monitor reported.
Bashir shot back by threatening to expel foreign observers.
"We want them to observe the elections, but if they interfere in our affairs and demand the delay, we will cut their fingers and put them under our shoes and expel them," he said Monday, according to broadcasts of his speech.
Today, as Moreno-Ocampo was calling the upcoming election “a Hitler vote,” a political party in southern Sudan accused the north of attempting to control the election results. Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party has delayed visas for UN helicopter pilots slated to collect votes and instead asked the northern army to transport the ballots, Reuters reports.
“They are sabotaging the coming of the UN pilots. They want to control the whole election process," Yasir Arman, the southern Sudan People's Liberation Movement's candidate for the national presidency, told Reuters.
Bashir's arrest warrant was initially a potent symbol for Darfur's victims, the Monitor reported. But earlier this month on the first anniversary of the ICC issuing its arrest warrant, the Monitor reported that fresh violence had cropped up in the south and the upcoming elections are virtually meaningless for Darfur because of unregistered, displaced populations, and widespread insecurity.