Al-Bashir is the current president of Sudan and head of the National Congress Party. He came to power in a coup in 1989 and has since instituted elements of Sharia law throughout the country, including Christian and animist areas. The International Criminal Court has accused him of crimes against humanity in Darfur. The 20-year-old civil war between the north and south of the country ended in 2005, and the referendum to create the new Republic of South Sudan was successful with the new nation declaring its statehood on July 9, 2011. He has been strengthening ties with Russia, Egypt and various African countries.