Of­fi­cial: Su­dan to hand over al-Bashir for geno­cide trial

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - WEATHER - By Samy Magdy

CAIRO >> Su­dan’s tran­si­tional au­thor­i­ties have agreed to hand over ousted au­to­crat Omar al-Bashir to the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court to face trial on charges of war crimes and geno­cide, a top Su­danese of­fi­cial said Tues­day, in a deal with rebels to sur­ren­der all those wanted in con­nec­tion with the Dar­fur con­flict.

For a decade af­ter his in­dict­ment, al-Bashir con­founded the court based in The Hague, Nether­lands. He not only was out of reach dur­ing his 30 years in power in Khar­toum, but he also trav­eled abroad fre­quently to visit friendly lead­ers with­out fear of ar­rest.

The mil­i­tary over­threw al-Bashir in April 2019 amid mas­sive public protests of his rule, and he has been jailed in Khar­toum since then. Mil­i­tary lead­ers ini­tially ruled out surrenderi­ng him to The Hague, say­ing he would be tried at home.

But the joint mil­i­tarycivil­ian Sov­er­eign Coun­cil that has ruled Su­dan since last sum­mer has agreed with rebel groups in Dar­fur to hand over those wanted by the ICC to face jus­tice in The Hague, ac­cord­ing to Mo­hammed Has­san al-Taishi, a mem­ber of the coun­cil and a gov­ern­ment ne­go­tia­tor.

He didn’t men­tion alBashir by name, but said, “We agreed that ev­ery­one who had ar­rest war­rants is­sued against them will ap­pear be­fore the ICC. I’m say­ing it very clearly.”

He did not say when they would be handed over.

“We can only achieve jus­tice if we heal the wounds with jus­tice it­self,” he said. “We can­not es­cape from con­fronting that.”

He spoke at a news con­fer­ence in South Su­dan’s capital, Juba, where the gov­ern­ment and mul­ti­ple rebel groups are hold­ing talks to end the coun­try’s var­i­ous civil wars, in­clud­ing Dar­fur.

In the Dar­fur con­flict, rebels from the ter­ri­tory’s eth­nic cen­tral and sub-Sa­ha­ran African com­mu­nity launched an in­sur­gency in 2003, com­plain­ing of op­pres­sion by the Arab­dom­i­nated gov­ern­ment in Khar­toum.

The gov­ern­ment re­sponded with a scorchedea­rth as­sault of ae­rial bomb­ings and un­leashed mili­tias known as the Jan­jaweed, who are ac­cused of mass killings and rapes. Up to 300,000 peo­ple were killed and 2.7 mil­lion were driven from their homes.

Al-Bashir, 76, faces three counts of geno­cide, five counts of crimes against hu­man­ity and two counts of war crimes for his al­leged role in lead­ing the deadly crack­down. The in­dict­ments were is­sued in 2009 and 2010, mark­ing the first time the global court had charged a sus­pect with geno­cide.

The ICC has in­dicted two other se­nior fig­ures in his regime: Ab­del-Rahim Muham­mad Hus­sein, in­te­rior and de­fense min­is­ter dur­ing much of the con­flict, and Ahmed Haroun, a se­nior se­cu­rity chief at the time and later the leader of al-Bashir’s rul­ing party. Both have been un­der ar­rest in Khar­toum since al-Bashir’s fall. Also in­dicted were Jan­jaweed leader Ali Kushayb and a se­nior Dar­fur rebel leader, Ab­dul­lah Banda, whose where­abouts are not known.


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