Despite protests from the international community, Omar al-Bashir has been sworn in as Sudan's president for a new five-year term. Al-Bashir, the only head of state facing an international arrest warrant, was inaugurated in a ceremony Thursday that will see the continuation of his 21-year rule. Several African heads of state attended the inauguration in addition to representatives from Egypt, Qatar, Libya, China, the Organisation of Islamic Conference and the Arab League.
While the International Criminal Court (ICC) has charged him with war crimes and crimes against humanity, Al-Bashir has denied ordering mass murder, torture or rape in the Darfur region. According to the United Nations, the seven-year old Darfur conflict has left over 300,000 people dead in what the U.S. and EU call a genocide. Al-Bashir has refused to cooperate or surrender himself or to the ICC.
Al-Bashir won the presidential election—the first in 24 years—in April with 68 percent of the vote after the two main opposition candidates withdrew their candidacy citing election fraud. European and American election monitors at the polls said that the election failed to meet international standards.
In his speech on Thursday, the Sudanese leader vowed to engage with the West. "I will personally strive to build up a dialogue, an objective dialogue with Western states aimed at clearing the atmosphere," he said.