Sudanese leader says Bashir may be handed to ICC
Lt. General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the leader of Sudan's interim Transitional Sovereignty Council, said ousted former President Omar Bashir may be handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC), in an interview with Al-Hadath TV on Friday.
"The ICC did not request the deportation of former President Omar Bashir, but instead his trial," he said, adding that the trial could take place in Sudan or elsewhere.
In February 2020, Sudan’s transitional government said it would not hand over Bashir, who is charged with crimes against humanity in Darfur, to the ICC until a peace agreement is signed in Darfur.
In August 2020 the Sudanese government signed a peace deal with several Darfur rebel groups but tribal clashes still regularly occur in the region.
The ICC issued multiple arrest warrants for Bashir between 2007 to 2012.
Bashir, who came to power in Sudan following a military coup in 1989, was toppled in April 2019 by a popular uprising fuelled by his regime's corruption, authoritarianism, and economic mismanagement.
In his interview with Al-Hadath, Burhan also addressed Sudan’s move to separate religion and state, which was announced last month following a peace deal with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement - North (SPLM-N) rebel group.
He said it did not contradict the country’s Islamic identity.
"The issue of separating religion from the state is about upholding the unity of the state," he said, adding that "Islam is a religion that calls for moderation and rejects extremism and coercion.”
Burhan added that his country "has begun to reap the benefits of removing Sudan's name from the [United States’] list of state sponsors of terrorism".
Last December, Washington reversed the 1993 listing, which restricted international investment in Sudan, crippling the country's economy.
The administration of former US President Donald Trump pressured Khartoum to normalise its relations with Israel as a quid pro quo for Sudan's removal from the terror list..
Burhan said that Sudan’s relations with the United States in security and intelligence have also developed.
"During the transition, we were able to take the first steps to restore Sudan to its status."
"Peace and the economy were the main challenges of the transition period," he said, adding "we have come a long way to surpass them."
"The Sudanese people are patient about real change," the leader said.