Deposed Sudanese dictator Omar Al Bashir and others indicted for war crimes and genocide by the International Criminal Court will be transferred to The Hague to face justice. Government negotiators made this concession to the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance during peace talks on the Darfur track in the South Sudan capital of Juba yesterday.
In a statement following the negotiation session, Mohamed El Taayshi, Member of Sudan’s Sovereign Council and the spokesperson for the government delegation for the peace talks, said that the two parties agreed on four mechanisms to achieve transitional justice in Darfur.
‘It is not possible to achieve justice and heal the wounds unless those against whom arrest warrants have been issued face the ICC’ – Mohamed El Taayshi
“It must be made clear that there can be no escape from the existence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur and other regions. It is not possible to achieve justice and heal the wounds unless those against whom arrest warrants have been issued face the ICC.”
He said that the two parties agreed to form a special court for the crimes committed in Darfur, mandated to investigate and conduct trials in all cases, including international criminal cases.
As reported by Radio Dabanga last month, Sudan’s Attorney General Tajelsir El Hibir conditioned the transfer of deposed Sudanese dictator Omar Al Bashir to the ICC on the outcome of the ongoing peace talks with the Darfur rebel movements in Juba.
During a formal meeting on January 26 with the US Congress delegation led by Tibor Nagy, US Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of African Affairs, who were on an official visit to Sudan, El Hibir said that Al Bashir’s hand-over to The Hague depends on the outcome of the current peace talks, the victims, and other legal issues.
The Darfur Bar Association welcomes the government announcement that ousted dictator Al Bashir and all others indicted for war crimes and genocide will be handed over to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
However, the Darfur Bar Association also said in a statement on Tuesday that, before accepting the practical procedures of transferring the suspects to The Hague, arrangements must be made to ensure that Al Bashir and all others accused appear before Sudanese courts after the ICC trial to account for their crimes since the 1989 coup.
Al Bashir convicted
Al Bashir has already been convicted of currency offences, and given a custodial sentence by a Khartoum court, but as he still faces charges in Sudan, he remains incarcerated in the notorious Kober prison in Khartoum North, where so many of his opponents were detained and tortured during the 30 years of his repressive regime.
Al Bashir was indicted by the ICC in 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and in 2010 for genocide. The court in The Hague also charged former Interior Minister Ahmed Haroun, former Defence Minister Abdelrahim Hussein, and janjaweed leader Ali Kushayb.
The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) told the UN Security Council last year during her briefing on Sudan that “concrete steps” must be taken towards ending impunity for atrocity crimes in Darfur,
In her 30th report to the UN Security Council, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, said that, “emboldened by positive political changes over the last six months, since the overthrow of former dictator Omar Al Bashir, that include a Constitutional Declaration, and a new Sovereign Council and Cabinet, she expressed her hope that “Sudan will honour its commitments to deliver justice” for the victims of civil conflict in the restive Darfur region, stretching back decades.
During the Darfur conflict between the government, their militiamen allies and rebel groups, which began in 2003, the UN estimated that around 300,000 were killed, and around 2.7 million forced from their homes.
At the peace talks in Juba yesterday, the Sudanese government and SRF negotiators also agreed on other mechanisms such as traditional justice, truth and reconciliation. Government spokesperson El Taayshi stressed that “it is not possible to reach a comprehensive peace agreement without agreeing on institutions to carry out the tasks of transitional justice and the principles to end impunity”.
The two parties also reached agreement on the land issue and hawakeer (lands traditionally used by tribal communities), along with agreeing on Darfur’s borders with other states.
The parties agreed to postpone discussing the issue of the displaced people and refugees until their representatives are present.
The Conference for the Unification of Visions of Displaced Persons in the North Darfur capital of El Fasher concluded its work last week with the election of 50 representatives to participate in the platform of the displaced in Juba.
The conference discussed security issues, the new settlers, and the voluntary return of the displaced to their villages.
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