Crime & Justice

Sudan’s public prosecutor: Obstacles prevent handing al-Bashir to ICC

Khartoum, Jun 15 (efe’epa).- Sudan’s public prosecutor on Monday said there were obstacles preventing ex-dictator Omar al-Bashir and several of his former allies from being handed over to the International Criminal Court to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Darfur conflict.

Al-Bashir, who was ousted in April 2019 amid mass protests, as well as former defense minister Abdul Rehim Husein and former interior minister Ahmed Haroun are all pending cases at The Hague.

The Sudanese public prosecutor, Taj al-Sir al-Hebr, said there were legal and sovereign issues currently impeding the process, adding that Sudan has yet to ratify the ICC’s Rome Statute and the military council set up in the wake of al-Bashir’s deposal did not want to hand the former leader over while the country was in transition.

Those wanted by ICC “do not necessarily have to appear before the International Criminal Court in The Hague,” he said.

“It takes time to make decisions on this matter,” he said, adding that most of the main suspects were already in custody.

Al-Hebr’s remarks came as the ICC on Monday held the first hearing for former pro-government militia leader Ali Kushayb over his alleged involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the Darfur War, which the United Nations estimates left 300,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced.

Speaking during the session, Kushayb, who turned himself in to the authorities in Central African Republic, said the charges he faces are false.

Al-Bashir was sentenced to two years in a rehabilitation center by a Khartoum court that found him guilty of illicit enrichment and currency trafficking.

Those crimes are usually punished by up to 10 years, but given he is over 70 years old, al-Bashir, 75, will serve just two, the court ruled.

The court also found him guilty of illegal tenancy of foreign currencies as the authorities seized 6.9 million euros, $351,000 and five million Sudanese pounds ($90,000) from his residence, which was searched a few days after his ousting.

The Darfur conflict began when two insurgent groups took up arms in February 2003 against the Khartoum regime to protest the poverty and marginalization suffered by the inhabitants of this region. EFE-EPA

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