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Amnesty urges to prioritize al-Bashir’s handover to ICC

Sudan's deposed military ruler Omar al-Bashir stands in the defendant's cage during the opening of his corruption trial in Khartoum on 19 August 2019 (AFP Photo)October 21, 2020 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese authorities should hand over former President Omer al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to expedite justice in Darfur as the country still struggling to reform the judiciary system, said Amnesty International on Wednesday.

Fatou Bensouda was in Khartoum this week for talks with the government officials on the options for the trial of the former President Omer al-Bashir and two senior officials indicted on charges of crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes.

Bensouda, also, said seeking the cooperation of the Sudanese authorities to get evidence and investigate the case against Ali Kushayb who already surrendered himself to the war crimes court in June 2020.

Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa on Wednesday urged the Sudanese authorities to expedite al-Bashir to The Hague court stressing that he for more than a decade evaded justice.

“While Sudanese authorities must take urgent steps to pursue national level accountability, and rightly explore alternative regional and international justice mechanisms, victims of atrocities must not be denied justice any longer,” Muchena said.

“The ICC currently offers the most appropriate and timely recourse to justice while reform and strengthening of the weak and politically compromised judicial system is carried out,” she further stressed.

Under the peace deal signed with the armed groups in Juba on 3 October, the government agreed to hand over al-Bashir to the ICC and to form a special court for Darfur war crimes.

Nonetheless, Justice Minister Nasr al-Din Abdel-Bari said they discussed with the ICC Prosecutor three options about the trial of the suspects in Darfur crimes including establishing a special court for Darfur crimes or a hybrid court involving Sudan and the ICC, as well as transferring the suspects to The Hague.

In line with the complementarity principle, the Sudanese authorities can opt for al-Bashir trial in Sudan or another regional mechanism to ensure justice.

Bensouda spoke about technical teams that would meet to reach a common understanding on the cooperation between the government and the Court.