A delegation from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has arrived in Khartoum to discuss the extradition of ousted President Omar Al Bashir, former Defence Minister Abdelrahim Hussein, and former Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs Ahmed Haroun, who are being held in Kober Prison in Khartoum North.
On Tuesday, the ICC delegation met with former rebel leaders Malik Agar and El Taher Hajar, currently members of the Sovereignty Council. They also talked about the arrangements for the upcoming visit of ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan to Sudan.
Agar told the court delegation headed by the director of the ICC Public Prosecutor's Office, that Sudan remains committed to the agreements related to the ICC, and to provide the necessary facilities in accordance with the laws and the protection of witnesses.
The third former rebel leader seated in the Sovereignty Council, El Hadi Idris, is currently visiting Darfur in an attempt to contain the recent resurgence of violence min the region. On Tuesday, he told reporters from Koroma in North Darfur that they stay committed “to handing over the perpetrators of crimes in Darfur to the ICC in accordance with the stipulations of the Juba Peace Agreement” that was signed by the Sudan Revolutionary Front rebel alliance and the Sudanese government in the South Sudanese capital on October 3 last year.
In August this year, ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan paid his first visit to Sudan, following decisions by Sudan’s transitional government to hand Darfur war crimes accused to the court, and to accede to and ratify the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
At the end of his visit, Khan announced the establishment of an ICC office with a permanent team in Sudan to further investigate the cases and gather more evidence against the indicted persons. He said he planned to return to Sudan in November and visit Darfur.
The ICC issued arrest warrants against Ahmed Haroun and janjaweed leader Ali Kushayb in 2007.
Kushayb was transferred to the ICC’s custody on June 9, 2020 after surrendering himself voluntarily in the Central African Republic. Upon his arrest, the Sudanese government announced its support for his transfer to the ICC. Kushayb is also charged with a number of crimes by the Sudanese authorities.
In February 2020, Sudanese authorities also agreed that Al Bashir, Haroun, and Hussein will be transferred to The Hague to face justice.
Al Bashir was indicted by the ICC in 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, and in 2010 for genocide. He was convicted of corruption by a Khartoum court in December 2019 and sentenced to two years in a prison for the elderly. He still faces various other charges in Sudan, including staging a military coup in 1989.
The ICC issued an arrest warrant against Abdelrahim Hussein in 2012 for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. He and Haroun are also being held in prison in Khartoum.
The ICC issued another arrest warrant in 2014, accusing Abdallah Banda, commander-in-chief of a breakaway faction of the Justice and Equality Movement, of war crimes in Darfur. The former rebel leader is still at large.