June 9, 2021 (KHARTOUM) – Fatou Bensouda outgoing General Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) called on the Security Council to persuade Sudan to hand over Ahmed Haroun to The Hague tribunal.
Bensouda on Tuesday dedicated her final briefing before the 15 member body to the situation in Darfur, the first case to be referred to the court by the Council in March 2005.
In a very emotional briefing that took place a week after a visit to Darfur, she underscored that all the indicted former officials are now detained in Khartoum and there no legal impediment to their surrender to the ICC.
Also, she pointed to “credible reports” about Haroun’s wish to be transferred to the war crimes courts.
“I appeal to this Council to prevail upon Sudan to immediately honour Mr Harun’s wish and facilitate his transfer to the ICC without delay,” the prosecutor said.
“Additionally, Sudan has to fully cooperate with the Office’s investigations, including through providing unhindered access to its territory; access to relevant records, information and materials as well as protection of witnesses,” she stressed.
To explain her pressing request, Bensouda said that the former State Minister for Interior and the militia leader Ali Mohamed Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, known as Ali “Kushayb” were jointly charged with the same crimes.
“Their cases were separated because Mr Abd-Al-Rahman voluntarily surrendered himself to the ICC,” she added.
“Sudan is under a legal obligation to surrender the suspects pursuant to Resolution 1593. The Juba Peace Agreement is also clear that all suspects must appear before the ICC and that Sudan should fully cooperate with the Court in its investigation and prosecution of these suspects,” she stressed.
During her meetings in Khartoum with the head of the Sovereign Council and the prime minister, she requested Haroun’s handover.
In an interview with The Asharq TV on Wednesday, al-Burhan seemed uncertain about the surrender of the former Sudanese officials to the ICC, despite his previous commitments made before Darfurian victims.
There are “proposals from the International Criminal Court to try the wanted people at home,” he said.
Kushayb voluntary surrendered himself to the ICC on 9 June 2020 after fleeing from Darfur to the Centra African Republic following the collapse of the al-Bashir regime.
On 24-26 May, a confirmation of charges hearing took place for 31 counts of crimes alleged to have been committed in the West Darfur States between August 2003 and March 2004.
Nonetheless, Besouda praised the cooperation demonstrated by the transitional government and the regional authorities in Darfur.
“The old days of hostilities and non-cooperation have been replaced by constructive dialogue and good spirit of cooperation,” told the Security Council.
She said that the ICC investigators have undertaken investigative activities in Sudan and have begun to prepare to go to Darfur soon in line with a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Sudan signed on 14 February.