[JURIST] Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] pledged his commitment to the peace process in his country at a Saturday rally, while deriding expelled aid groups and the arrest warrant [text, PDF] issued against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] earlier this week. At the rally, al-Bashir told the assembled crowd [Xinhua report] that the country would not stray from the peace process and would avoid a return to war. Al-Bashir also used the rally to strike out at aid groups expelled from the country [JURIST report] earlier this week, calling them "spies and thieves" [Reuters report] and accusing them of using the majority of the money donated to them for personal profit.
On Thursday, al-Bashir strongly criticized [JURIST report] the ICC warrant, calling it an attempt by Western powers to reassert colonial power over the country. The warrant, issued [decision, PDF; JURIST report] on Wednesday, charged him with seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but did not include genocide charges. The controversial arrest warrant [JURIST news archive] had been sought by ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile], who in July filed preliminary charges [text, PDF; JURIST report] against Bashir alleging genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes committed in the Darfur region in violation of Articles 6, 7, and 8 of the Rome Statute [text].