Sudan to hand over ousted leader Bashir to ICC over Darfur conflict

Sudan will hand over former autocrat Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court along with other officials wanted by the Darfur conflict, Foreign Minister Mariam al-Mahdi said on Wednesday.

The “cabinet decided to hand over the wanted officials to the ICC,” Mahdi said, according to state media.

Bashir, who ruled Sudan with an iron fist for three decades before being deposed amid popular protests in 2019, faces charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

The United Nations says 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million displaced in the conflict, which broke out in the vast western region in 2003.

Bashir, 77, has been wanted by the ICC since 2009, when he issued an arrest warrant.

The decision to hand him over came during a visit to Sudan by the chief prosecutor of the ICC, Karim Khan.

Sudan has been led since August 2019 by a transitional civil-military administration that is committed to bringing justice to the victims of crimes committed under Bashir.

Khartoum signed a peace accord last October with key Darfur rebel groups, with some of its leaders taking over top government positions, although violence continues to haunt the region.

The Darfur war broke out in 2003 when non-Arab rebels took up arms complaining of systematic discrimination by the Arab-dominated Bashir government.

Khartoum responded by unleashing the notorious Janjaweed militia, recruited from the nomadic peoples of the region.

Human rights groups have long accused Bashir and his former aides of using a scorched earth policy, raping, murdering, looting and burning villages.

Last year, the suspected leader of the Janjaweed militia, Ali Muhammad Ali Abd al-Rahman, also known by the nom de guerre Ali Kushayb, surrendered to the court.

ICC judges said in July that he would be the first suspect to stand trial in the Darfur conflict, facing 31 charges including murder, rape and torture.


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