ICC prosecutor says Sudan to decide next week on handover of Darfur suspects

UN says 300,000 people were killed in Darfur conflict

Sudan's transitional government will meet next week to decide whether to hand over to the International Criminal Court suspects accused of war crimes in Darfur, including former dictator Omar Al Bashir, an ICC prosecutor said on Thursday.

"We will wait and see what happens. It's an important meeting," ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said in Khartoum, Sudan's capital.

Mr Khan was speaking at the end of two days of talks with Sudanese leaders on the issue of the handover of those indicted by the ICC over crimes in Darfur, where Al Bashir's government and allied militias in the 2000s brutally put down a revolt by ethnic Africans demanding an end to discrimination by Khartoum.

Al Bashir and others – including former ministers Ahmed Haroun and Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein, and former leader of the main rebel Justice and Equality Movement, Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain – face charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Mr Khan said he will return to Sudan in November and visit Darfur. The ICC, he said, will also establish a permanent office in Sudan.

"We will work within the parameters of the statutes and do our job, fulfil our responsibilities and pray others will fulfil their responsibilities as well. At the moment there are signs of hope but the journey is not complete," Mr Khan said.

The Sudanese government on Wednesday said a joint meeting of the Cabinet and the Sovereignty Council will decide on the handover of the suspects and ratify the government's recent approval of the Rome Statute, the foundation charter of the ICC.

Al Bashir was indicted by the ICC in 2010 and 2011 for crimes in Darfur, where the UN says 300,000 people died and 2.5 million were displaced in the conflict.

On Wednesday, Mr Khan met the sovereign council's leader, Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, and Gen Mohamed Daglo, its deputy chair.

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who also met Mr Khan, said on Wednesday that “Sudan's commitment to seek justice is not only to abide by its international commitments, but it comes out of a response to the people's demands".

Updated: August 12th 2021, 4:59 PM