Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 October 2020

ICC prosecutor discusses justice for Omar Al Bashir in Khartoum

Potential extradition of the former ruler on the table in talks between Fatou Bensouda and Sudanese officials

The International Criminal Court's prosecutor discussed with Sudanese officials in Khartoum on Sunday how to deal justice to former president Omar Al Bashir, in a case that could impact conciliation and long-term civil peace.

The official news agency quoted Justice Minister Nasuddin Abdulbari after meeting Fatou Bensouda as saying that he hoped the ICC mission "will be crowned with success", without giving details.

Al Bashir, who ruled Sudan for three decades marked by civil wars and economic devastation, is wanted by the ICC on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

An official Sudanese statement said the ICC delegation, which will stay until October 21, will discuss co-operation "regarding Al Bashir the accused, against whom the court has issued arrest warrants,"

A government source told AFP that Ms Bensouda flew to Khartoum to discuss the extradition of Al Bashir and others to the court.

Al Bashir was overthrown by the military on April 11, 2019, after youth-led street demonstrations.

The UN estimates that 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million displaced in the Darfur conflict, which began in 2003.

Sudan's transitional government agreed that Al Bashir would stand trial before the ICC.

But in an August peace deal with rebels, the government agreed to set up a special court for crimes in Darfur and said Al Bashir should also face that court.

Mr Hamdok told the Financial Times this month that he spoke with the ICC about the option of trying Al Bashir in Sudan, potentially in a "hybrid court".

Al Bashir, 76, is being held in Khartoum's Kober prison. Last December, he was convicted of corruption and is now on trial for the 1989 coup that brought him to power.

If convicted, Al Bashir and 27 other co-accused, including former top officials, could face the death penalty.

In June, Ali Kushayb, head of the Janjaweed militia accused of carrying out some of the worst atrocities in Darfur, surrendered to the ICC and is in custody.

Updated: October 18, 2020 05:41 PM

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