Headed to the Hague: Sudan Agrees Ousted Dictator al-Bashir to Face ICC

Written by | Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

The Sudanese government and rebels have agreed on a deal to hand over suspects – including the country’s former President Omar al-Bashir – wanted by the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC), a top official said. While Sudan says those wanted by ICC will be handed over to face war criminal charges, the army opposes his Omar al-Bashir’s extradition. At peace talks in Juba, the government and rebels agreed on a mechanism that would include “the appearance of those who face arrest warrants before the International Criminal Court,” Sudanese official Mohamed al-Hassan al-Taishi said on Tuesday (11 February).
The ICC wants the ousted strongman on war crimes and genocide charges in relation to the Darfur conflict, which has been ravaging the region since 2003, killing hundreds of thousands of people through war and starvation. The first warrant against al-Bashir was issued in 2009, while he was still in office, followed by a second in 2010. The ICC does not try individuals in absentia. “We can’t achieve justice without justice itself, we can’t skip this,” stressed Al-Hassan al-Taishi who is the member of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, which includes civilian and military members and acts as a collective head of state following after al-Bashir’s removal from office.
In the wake of his ouster in April 2019, the Sudanese military has repeatedly said it would not extradite the 75-year-old politician, though it is not immediately clear if the army leaders were part of the latest deal. In December 2019, al-Bashir was sentenced to two years of imprisonment by a Sudanese court for money laundering and corruption. In any case, many experts agree that handing over al-Bashir to the ICC would be a truly historic move that would, however, put the transitional government under scrutiny. Since the current government in Sudan is functioning based on a power sharing agreement between civilians and military leaders, some of whom are al-Bashir’s former allies and themselves allegedly complicit in crimes committed in Darfur, so this latest deal has likely also make them quite nervous.

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