A top Sudanese official said Tuesday the country’s transitional authorities and rebel groups have agreed to hand over former autocratic president Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court to face trial for war crimes, including mass killings in Darfur.
Bashir, who was overthrown by the military last year amid a public uprising, is wanted by the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity and genocide related to the Darfur conflict. Since his ouster in April, he has been in jail in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, on charges of corruption and killing protesters.
Mohammed Hassan al-Taishi, a member of the country’s sovereign council and a government negotiator, said the council agreed with rebel groups in Darfur to hand over those wanted by the ICC to face justice in The Hague. He didn’t mention Bashir by name.
Al-Taishi did not say when they would transfer Bashir and others wanted by the ICC, and the transitional administration would need to ratify the ICC’s Rome Statute to allow for the transfer of the former president to The Hague.
He spoke in a news conference in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, where the government and rebels are holding talks to end the country’s decades-long civil war.
In the Darfur conflict, rebels among the territory’s ethnic Central African community launched an insurgency in 2003, complaining of discrimination and oppression by the Arab-dominated Khartoum government. The government responded with a scorched earth assault of aerial bombings and unleashed the Janjaweed militia. Up to 300,000 people were killed and 2.7 million driven from their homes.
Along with Bashir, the ICC has indicted two other senior figures in his regime — Abdel-Rahim Muhammad Hussein, who was interior and defence minister during much of the conflict, and Ahmed Haroun, a senior security chief at the time who last month was named by Bashir to run the ruling National Congress Party.