Sudan's Bashir Sworn In to Another 5-Year Term
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir has been sworn in for a new five-year term, following an election marred by boycotts and allegations of fraud.
The president, wearing a traditional white robe and turban, took the oath of office Thursday at a ceremony in the Sudanese parliament.
The heads of about six African countries were in attendance, while Western countries sent lower-level diplomats.
Human Rights Watch had called on governments and the United Nations to boycott the ceremony because of Mr. Bashir's indictment by the International Criminal Court.
The court has charged him with masterminding a campaign of rape, murder, and other crimes against civilians in Darfur, where his government has fought rebels for seven years.
Sudan does not recognize the ICC and refuses to cooperate with the court.
In his inaugural speech, Mr. Bashir pledged there would be "no return to war" with southern Sudan, and said a referendum on southern independence would be held on time.
Southern Sudan is scheduled to vote next January on whether to secede from the rest of the country. The referendum is a key part of the 2005 peace deal that ended Sudan's north-south civil war.
Mr. Bashir was re-elected in April with 68 percent of the vote. Most opposition parties either fully or partially boycotted the election, saying the president's National Congress Party had rigged the outcome.
The president has ruled Sudan since seizing power in a 1989 coup. He has repeatedly defied the ICC warrant for his arrest by traveling abroad, though only to countries that are not signatories to the ICC charter.
The United Nations says fighting and related violence in Sudan's Darfur region has killed up to 300,000 people and displaced 2.7 million. Sudan puts the death toll at 10,000.