ICC prosecutor heads to Sudan to discuss ex-President Omar al-Bashir case

Sudan’s ousted president Omar al-Bashir (C) speaks to a police officer as he arrives for his trial in the capital Khartoum, on October 6, 2020. (AFP)

International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will arrive Saturday in Sudan to discuss the potential extradition of former president Omar al-Bashir, the government said.

The toppled autocrat is wanted by the ICC on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in the western region of Darfur.

A delegation led by Bensouda “will discuss cooperation between the International Criminal Court and Sudan regarding the accused, against whom the court has issued arrest warrants,” a statement from the office of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said.

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The office said that the delegation would stay until October 21 and meet with senior Sudanese officials.

A government source told AFP that Bensouda would arrive in Khartoum on Saturday “to discuss the extradition of former president Omar al-Bashir and others to the court.”

Al-Bashir ruled with an iron fist for 30 years until his overthrow on April 11, 2019, following unprecedented youth-led street demonstrations.

The United Nations estimates 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million displaced in the Darfur conflict since 2003.

Sudan’s transitional government has agreed that al-Bashir would stand trial before the ICC.

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

Hamdok told the Financial Times earlier this month that he had spoken with the ICC about the option of trying al-Bashir in Sudan, potentially in a “hybrid court.”

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Al-Bashir, 76, is currently held in Khartoum’s tough Kober prison. He was convicted last December for 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, the head of the Janjaweed militia accused of carrying out some of the worst atrocities in Darfur, surrendered to the ICC and is now in custody.

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Last Update: Saturday, 17 October 2020 KSA 17:37 - GMT 14:37
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