The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, said that she discussed with Sudanese officials allowing investigators from the court to enter Sudan to investigate the crimes committed in the Darfur region during the rule of ousted President Omar Al-Bashir, and Bensouda stressed the need to try Al-Bashir and others on suspicion of having committed crimes in the Darfur region of western Sudan.
In statements to reporters during a visit to Khartoum, Bensouda explained that discussions are taking place with the Sudanese authorities regarding options for trying the suspects, including Al-Bashir, including holding a trial in Sudan and establishing a mixed court.
The International Criminal Prosecutor insisted that those suspected of committing war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur must be confronted with justice without further delay. The United Nations says that the armed conflict in the Darfur region between government forces and rebel armed movements has claimed 300,000 lives and displaced 2.5 million others.
Bensouda stated that during her meetings in Khartoum, she sensed the willingness and desire of Sudanese officials to cooperate with the court and find the best way to achieve this cooperation. She explained that “several points were discussed, including a memorandum of understanding on cooperation mechanisms and technical visits, and the immediate permission for our investigators to enter Sudan.” She explained that she hopes to “start investigations on the ground in Darfur as soon as possible.”
Earlier today, the Attorney General, Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, head of the Sovereignty Council in Sudan, Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Abdel Rahman Al-Burhan, met in Khartoum to discuss cooperation regarding the cases brought before the International Criminal Court against suspects in the context of the situation in Darfur, Sudan. pic.twitter.com/oubMsNzjWZ
— Int’l Criminal Court (@IntlCrimCourt) October 20, 2020
In 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012, the International Court, based in The Hague, issued arrest warrants for Omar al-Bashir, former Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Hussein, as well as Ahmed Muhammad Harun, an assistant to al-Bashir and a former Minister of Interior, and Ali Kosheib, a leader of the Janjaweed militia. The arrest warrants relate to charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Darfur region.
On June 10, Bensouda informed the UN Security Council that Ali Kushayb was now in custody at the seat of the court.
Omar al-Bashir, who was overthrown by the army in April 2019 after popular protests against his rule in Sudan, is on trial on charges of carrying out a coup against the authority in place in 1989, which brought him to power until last year.
Last December, the Sudanese judiciary sentenced Al-Bashir, 76, to spend two years in a social reform center after he was convicted of financial corruption, because Sudanese law prohibits imprisonment of those over the age of 70.