Sudan’s rulers agree to hand over ex-President Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges
BY TESFANEWS *
A top Sudanese transitional government official has announced on Tuesday that they have agreed with rebel groups to hand over ex-President Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court.
Al-Bashir, who was overthrown by the military last year amid a public uprising, is wanted by the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity and genocide related to the Darfur conflict.
The commitment came at peace talks between Sudan’s government and rebel groups from the Darfur region in South Sudan’s capital, Juba.
Authorities said the former president, and others charged by the ICC, should appear at The Hague to face a tribunal.
Mohammed Hassan al-Taishi, a member of the Sovereign Council and a government negotiator, said the council agreed with rebel groups in Darfur to hand over those wanted by the International Criminal Court to face justice in The Hague.
“Justice cannot be achieved if we don’t heal the wounds,” said Mohammed Hassan Eltaish.
“We agreed that everyone who had arrest warrants issued against them will appear before the ICC. I’m saying it very clearly,” he added.
Al-Taishi did not say when they would transfer al-Bashir or others wanted by the court, and the transitional administration would need to ratify the ICC’s Rome Statute to allow for the transfer the former president to The Hague.
Since his ouster in April, he has been in jail in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, on charges of corruption and killing protesters.
The ICC first charged al-Bashir with involvement in crimes in Darfur on March 4, 2009, and again on July 12, 2010. His case marked the first time the global court had charged a suspect with genocide.
Al-Bashir faces three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of war crimes for allegedly leading the deadly crackdown by government forces and Janjaweed militia on the Darfur region from 2003.
Al-Bashir was long seen as a poster boy for impunity in Africa and out of reach of the ICC. Despite international arrest warrants issued by the ICC he regularly flew to visit leaders around the world apparently without fear of arrest.
* The BBC News and Associated Press contributed to this story.