Sudan to hand over former dictator Omar al-Bashir to International Criminal Court
Sudan will hand over ousted President Omar al-Bashir and other former leading members of his government to the International Criminal Court (ICC), an official said on Saturday, following the launch of an investigation by Sudanese prosecutors into the Darfur conflict last year.
"The government has decided to hand over Bashir and other criminals to the ICC after the adoption of the ICC procedures," Sudan's Minister of Federal Affairs, Buthaina Dinar, said at a news conference.
Bashir and three officials were indicted by The Hague-based court on charges including war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.
Dinar said the handover would follow the end of Bashir's trial in local courts, where he stands accused on charges of corruption and other crimes.
The vast Darfur region was gripped by bloodshed in 2003 when rebels from the territory's ethnic central and sub-Saharan African community launched an insurgency accusing the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum of discrimination and neglect.
The government, under Bashir, responded with a scorched-earth assault of aerial bombings and unleashed local nomadic Arab militias known as the Janjaweed, who are accused of mass killings and rapes. Up to 300,000 people were killed and 2.7 million were driven from their homes.
Sudan indicated it may be ready to hand over toppled dictator Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court, which has indicted him on war crimes and genocide charges https://t.co/YgBnuTllzm— Bloomberg Africa (@BBGAfrica) June 27, 2021
Peace talks between the transitional government of Sudan and a rebel group in the south of the country have stumbled over the delegation of powers between the central government and the regions.
An interim civilian-military government was set up after a popular revolt led to the dismissal of former president Bashir in April 2019.
In October 2020, the government – which has made peace with the rebels its priority – signed a historic agreement with several rebel groups.
"Justice cannot be achieved if we don't heal the wounds," Mohammed Hassan al-Taishi, a spokesman for the Sudanese government, said.
"We are doing what the Sudanese people asked us to do," he added.
In her final briefing to the UN Security Council as ICC prosecutor earlier this month, Fatou Bensouda had lamented that the tribunal had not yet bought justice to victims of atrocities in Darfur.
"Sudan is under a legal obligation to surrender the suspects" under the Security Council resolution that referred Darfur to the court, she said.