WASHINGTON – Actor and activist George Clooney said Thursday that the fall of Sudan’s veteran strongman, Omar al-Bashir, was not enough and called for the dismantling of the military-led system.
The Hollywood heartthrob, who has been arrested protesting Sudan’s campaign in Darfur that the United States described as genocide, called for Bashir to be extradited and prosecuted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.
“The people of Sudan have been waiting for this day for a long time, but it is only a tentative first step towards real change,” Clooney said in a joint statement with John Prendergast, the human rights campaigner with whom the actor founded The Sentry Project, which researches illicit money and war crimes in Africa.
The two said that Defense Minister Awad Ibnouf, who announced Bashir’s detention and declared two years of military rule, was just as deeply involved in the bloody, racially tinged war in Darfur.
“Removing the leader of a violent, corrupt system without dismantling that system is inadequate,” they said.
“The next steps are crucial. The international community must provide all possible support to ensure that the transition is a negotiated and inclusive one, and that the next president of Sudan reflects the will of its people,” they said.
Bashir, who swept to power in a 1989 coup, was one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders but has faced months of mounting protests, triggered initially by a hike in the price of bread.