Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 July 2019

ICC chief says Sudan should hand over former president Omar Al Bashir

Fatou Bensouda calls on authorities in Khartoum to co-operate

Deposed former Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir is escorted from the Kober prison to face questioning by prosecutors on June 16, 2019. AFP
Deposed former Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir is escorted from the Kober prison to face questioning by prosecutors on June 16, 2019. AFP

The head of the International Criminal Court on Wednesday urged Sudan's transitional authorities to hand over toppled president Omar Al Bashir and end his long-wanted arrest over atrocities committed in the western Darfur region.

Fatou Bensouda, the court's chief prosecutor, told the UN Security Council that although Sudan faced an uncertain future, it was time to act.

“Now is the time for the people of Sudan to choose law over impunity and ensure that the ICC suspects in the Darfur situation finally face justice in a court,” Ms Bensouda said.

She said that two other ICC suspects were also reportedly detained in Khartoum.

“The former status quo is over," Ms Bensouda said. "Mr Omar Al Bashir has been deposed, arrested, detained and charged with domestic offences.

"Sudan remains under a legal obligation to transfer these suspects to the ICC to stand trial.”

Two warrants from the court, issued in 2009 and 2010, are active for Mr Al Bashir, on charges including five counts of crimes against humanity, murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape.

He also faces two counts of war crimes, including intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population, and three counts of genocide.

The former president appeared in public three days ago for the first time since he was removed from office by the military in April after weeks of protests, heading into court to face corruption allegations.

Since being arrested, Sudan's military leaders have said they will not hand Mr Al Bashir over to the court in The Hague.

But Ms Bensouda said the current transition gave the country a chance to co-operate with her office.

Updated: June 20, 2019 01:04 AM

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