Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] announced Wednesday that Sudan will adopt an Islamic constitution. The creation of an Islamic state, three months after the official split between Sudan and South Sudan [JURIST report], is intended to more accurately reflect the religious affiliation of its population, which is 98 percent Muslim [Reuters reports] now that the mainly Christian South Sudan is recognized as an independent country [JURIST report]. This leaves the future of the more than one million South Sudanese living in Sudan, who have already been given until the spring to leave and are treated as foreigners, even more in doubt.
Al-Bashir remains an extremely controversial figure in international politics for his actions during the Darfur conflict [BBC backgrounder]. The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] charged him with three counts of genocide [JURIST report] in July 2010, but he has yet to be arrested. In June, ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo [official website] issued a statement claiming that al-Bashir has continued to commit crimes against humanity [JURIST report] in Darfur. Also in June, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] criticized China [JURIST report] for welcoming al-Bashir rather than arresting him to stand trial. Amnesty International [advocacy website] also urged China, along with Malaysia [JURIST reports], to arrest the Sudanese president.