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SUDAN - ICC

Sudan to hand over ICC suspects, ex-President Bashir refuses to cooperate

Ousted Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir in court in Khartoum, 31 August 2019.
Ousted Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir in court in Khartoum, 31 August 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah
3 min

Sudan has agreed to hand ousted autocrat Omar al-Bashir and other former government officials to the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes comitted in Darfur, according to a member of Khartoum's transitional Sovereign Council.

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Al-Bashir, who was overthrown by the military in 2019 after a public uprising, is wanted by the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity and genocide related to the Darfur conflict. Since his overthrow last April, he has been incarcerated in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, on charges of corruption and killing protesters.

Mohammed Hassan al-Taishi, a member of the Sovereign Council and a government negotiator, said the transitional council had agreed with rebel groups in Darfur to hand over those wanted by the International Criminal Court to face justice in The Hague. He did not mention al-Bashir by name.

Sudanese demonstrators attend a protest rally demanding Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir to step down outside the Defence Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan April 11, 2019.
Sudanese demonstrators attend a protest rally demanding Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir to step down outside the Defence Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

However, according to one of al-Bashir's lawyers, the former president refuses to deal with the International Criminal Court claiming it is a "political court" and Sudan's judiciary is able to deal with any case.

Meanwhile, speaking in the Southern Sudanese capital Juba, Al-Taishi did not say when they would transfer al-Bashir or others wanted by the court, and the transitional administration would need to ratify the ICC’s Rome Statute to allow for the transfer the former president to The Hague.

Poster boy for impunity in Africa

The ICC first charged al-Bashir with involvement in crimes in Darfur on 4 March, 2009, and again on 12 July, 2010. His case marked the first time the global court had charged a suspect with genocide.

Al-Bashir faces three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of war crimes for allegedly leading the deadly crackdown by government forces and Janjaweed militia on the Darfur region from 2003.

Despite international arrest warrants issued by the ICC, Bashir regularly flew to visit leaders around the world apparently without fear of arrest.

Sudanese President Bashir delivers a speech in El-Fasher, North Darfur during a ceremony to declare an end to 13 years of conflict in Darfur, 7 September 2016.
Sudanese President Bashir delivers a speech in El-Fasher, North Darfur during a ceremony to declare an end to 13 years of conflict in Darfur, 7 September 2016. Ashraf Shazly/AFP Photo

Darfur and the Janjaweed

In the Darfur conflict, rebels from the territory’s ethnic Central African community launched an insurgency in 2003, complaining of discrimination and oppression by the Arab-dominated Khartoum government. The government responded with a scorched earth assault of aerial bombings and unleashed the Janjaweed militia. Up to 300,000 people were killed and 2.7 million driven from their homes.

The ICC has also indicted two other senior figures in al-Bashir's regime   Abdel-Rahim Muhammad Hussein, who was interior and defense minister during much of the conflict, and Ahmed Haroun, a senior security chief at the time.

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