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AG: ICC suspects could be tried in Sudan

June 16 - 2020 KHARTOUM
Sudan's Attorney General Tajelsir El Hibir is congratulated by Sovereign Council Chairman Lt Gen El Burhan, on taking office last year (RD Correspondent)
Sudan's Attorney General Tajelsir El Hibir is congratulated by Sovereign Council Chairman Lt Gen El Burhan, on taking office last year (RD Correspondent)

Sudan’s Attorney General, Tajelsir El Hibir says that the remaining International Criminal Court (ICC) suspects might not necessarily stand trial in The Hague, because of “sovereignty and other legal issues”. El Hibir stressed that the possibility for joint trials between the ICC and Sudan within the country (institute proceedings) requires a functioning court system and other means.

In a press conference on Monday, El Hibir told reporters that the decision to transfer the ICC suspects needed more consultation and time. He confirmed that all four ICC suspects are currently in custody. He said it might not be necessary for internationally indicted persons to stand trial physically at the international criminal courts. “It is not the first time international prosecutions will be held outside the ICC. Arusha and Lebanon are good examples,” he said.

El Hibir said that to conduct international trials within the country needs, among other things, a functioning national legal system in place and international cooperation. “If it is decided to conduct international trials inside the country there must be cooperation between the Sudanese authorities and judiciary system with the office of the ICC prosecutor,” he said.

Investigations on Darfur

El Hibir confirmed that national investigations on Darfur crimes have not been completed yet. “The last investigative committee on Darfur crimes was the one headed by Dafallah El Haj,” he added. He said that in December, Sudan prosecution issued several arrest warrants against alleged perpetrators of the crimes committed in Darfur. “Ali Kushayb was among those the Sudanese public prosecution issued arrest warrants against before he fled to the Central African Republic,” he added.

On Monday, Radio Dabanga reported that former Darfur janjaweed leader Ali Abdelrahman (aka Kushayb*), made his first appearance before International Criminal Court (ICC) Judge Rosario Salvatore Aitala in The Hague to hear charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Kushayb was arrested in the Central African Republic (CAR) last week and transferred to ICC custody.

Arrest warrants

In 2007, the ICC issued arrest warrants against former Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Ahmed Haroun, and former janjaweed leader Ali Kushayb for numerous counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The court issued a first arrest warrant against Omar Al Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in 2009. The second indictment, for genocide committed against the Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa tribes in Darfur, followed a year later. Al Bashir, ruled the country for 30 years and was deposed by a military coup on April 11, 2019.

In 2011, the ICC confirmed the charges of war crimes brought by the court’s prosecutor against Abdallah Banda, former leader of the Justice and Equality rebel movement, and committed him to trial.

A warrant against former Minister of Interior Affairs and Minister of Defence, Abdelrahim Hussein, was issued in 2012, for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur.

On Friday June 11, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the ICC reclassified as public, with redactions, a second warrant of arrest against Kushayb. An ICC statement explains that the second arrest warrant was initially issued as secret on January 16, 2018. It adds three new charges of war crimes (murder) and crimes against humanity (murder and other inhumane acts) allegedly committed in Deleig and surrounding areas between on or about March 5 to 7, 2004.

Convicted

On December 14 2019, Al Bashir was convicted on charges of corruption and currency irregularities, and sentenced to two years in a ‘correctional facility’ designed for older prisoners.

He is still being held in Khartoum’s Kober Prison, which became notorious under his regime for holding countless political detainees, many of whom were tortured or worse. Al Bashir is awaiting trial on further charges regarding the killing of demonstrators following the violent dismantling of the sit-in in front of the army command in Khartoum on June 3, 2019.

On March 31, the public prosecutor formally charged Al Bashir, several of his senior military aides, and a number of Islamist leaders of undermining the constitutional order more than 30 years ago. He also faces further charges for money laundering, corruption, and forbidden and suspicious wealth.

Last month, Sovereign Council spokesman and Deputy Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Committee, Mohamed El Faki, said that the transitional government does not have a stance against handing Al Bashir over to the International Criminal Court to stand trial. “However, the decision to transfer Al Bashir to the Hague is associated with national politics, legal, and social aspects,” he said.

On Monday, ICC Judge Aitala provisionally scheduled the opening of the confirmation of charges hearing for December 7, 2020.

*At his first appearance before the ICC on June 15, Ali Kushayb (as stated on the arrest warrants) insisted that he be referred to as Ali Abdelrahman. The judge provisionally ruled that the suspect will be referred to as such.


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