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Sudan, ICC sign cooperation agreement on Kushayb trial

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ICC prosecutor, Sudanese officials discussed cooperation agreement on Darfur crimes on 20 October 2020 (ST photo)February 15, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government signed a cooperation memorandum of understanding with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the trial of Kushayb who is accused of committing war crimes in the Darfur region.

A statement issued by the Public Prosecution in Sudan on Monday said that the agreement was signed last Sunday, but it remains unclear whether the memorandum included the other former officials wanted by the Court in connection with crimes committed in Darfur.

The Hague-based court issued an arrest warrant for militia leader on April 27, 2007, on charges of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the years 2003 and 2004 as part of a counter-insurgency campaign organized by the Sudanese government against the armed groups in the region.

The ousted President Omer al-Bashir, the former Minister of Defence Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein and the former Minister of State for the Interior Ahmed Haroun are facing charges of committing genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur.

On 9 June 2020, the ICC Prosecutor announced that Ali Kushayb was being held in custody after he voluntarily surrendered himself in the Central African Republic. He fled the Darfur region following the fall of the Bashir regime.

The Public Prosecution of Sudan in its statement said that the agreement was reached after a series of meetings that took place between the Ministry of Justice, the Public Prosecution and other relevant state agencies with the visiting delegation of the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Criminal Court.

In September 2020, the ICC prosecutor requested to postpone Kushayb’s trial to June 2021 saying they need more time to conduct further investigations.

Darfur her visit to Sudan in October 2020, Fatou Bensouda discussed the signing of a cooperation agreement with the Sudanese government to facilitate the needed investigations.

The pre-trial court is expected to hold confirmation of charges hearing of Ali Kushayb on 22 February.

As the investigation teams will be soon deployed in the region, the hearing is expected to be delayed for the third time.

The statement indicated that the ICC’s delegation met with the Attorney General and the Commission of Inquiry and Inquiry into the events in Darfur.

It further pointed out that the Public Prosecutor issued in November 2019 an arrest warrant for Kushayb and others in connection with the attacks that took place in Darfur from 2003 to 2010.

The government and the armed groups agreed to hand over to The Hague court all those who are accused of war crimes in line with the Juba peace agreement of 3 October 2020.

EU welcomes the MoU

In a statement released in Khartoum on Monday, the EU ambassadors in Sudan congratulated the Sudanese government on concluding a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Criminal Court regarding the case of Ali Kyshayb.

"This confirms the resolve of the government to cooperate with the Court and to serve justice to all the victims of the conflicts of the past," reads the statement which was issued following a meeting with the head of the Sovereign Council.

(ST)

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