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Sudan agrees to hand over al-Bashir to international justice

IDPs at Abu Shouk camps in North Darfur receive Hamdok with a banner calling to hand al-Bashir to the ICC on 4 November 2019 (ST photo)
February 11, 2020 (JUBA) - The transitional government on Tuesday agreed to hand over the ousted President Omer al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court (ICC), saying it was crucial for peace and justice in Sudan.

At different times, the war crimes court in The Hague issued arrest warrants for al-Bashir, two other former officials: Abdel Rahim Hussein, Ahmed Haroun and a militia leader Ali Kushayb.

After al-Bashir’s ouster, the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), their government headed by Abdallah Hamdok said they have no objection to their handover. However, the position of the military component evolved slowly to meet the ever-increasing demand of the displaced people in Darfur.

Speaking after a meeting with Darfur armed groups in Juba, the venue of peace talks, the government negotiator and member of the Sovereign Council Mohamed al-Hassan al-Taishi declared that the government agreed with the armed groups to hand the indicted former officials to the ICC.

"We cannot achieve justice unless we heal the wounds (of the victims). We cannot escape from confronting that (fact) because there are crimes against humanity and war crimes committed against innocent people in Darfur and other regions without the appearance of the indicted people before the International Criminal Court," said al-Taishi.

He emphasized that the government agreement emanates from the principle of justice which is one of the three principles of the Sudanese revolution and the principle of impunity.

The Sudanese government did not indicate when the former senior officials would be handed over to the ICC.

On 5 November 2019, IDPs in Darfur welcomed Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok with banners calling to hand al-Bashir over to the war crimes court.

"This is a fundamental demand that no barrier can stop it," he said on the same day voicing the government support to their request.

On 19 December 2019, the head of the Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan admitted the right of victims of war crimes and atrocities in Darfur region to resort to The Hague court (ICC).

"If we are unable to achieve justice for our people here, they have the right to demand that justice be done wherever they choose. We are bound to achieve their demands," he further stressed.

Al-Taishi said they agreed with the armed groups on four mechanisms for justice in Darfur: the ICC, the Darfur Crimes Court to try officials and militia leaders involved in Darfur atrocities but not indicted by the ICC, the traditional justice mechanism and the justice and reconciliation mechanism.

Also, he said they would discuss the landownership and tribal reservations in a session on Tuesday evening.