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ICC prosecutor calls for enhanced cooperation over Darfur cases

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Hamdok shacks hand with ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan on Wednesday 11 August 2021 (ST photo)
August 11, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - The International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan called on the Sudanese officials to actively cooperate with him to end impunity and achieve justice in Darfur.

On Wednesday, Khan met with Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, the head of the Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan his deputy and other members to demand concrete decisions from the transitional government, two years after the collapse of the former regime.

According to the different statements released after his meetings, the ICC prosecutor briefed the Sudanese officials about the trial of Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushyab as a pre-trial court confirmed the charges made by the prosecution.

He disclosed that an investigation team would visit Darfur next month for more evidence on the Kushyab case. Also spoke about his visit in November before to brief the Security Council by the end of the year.

Last June, former ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the Security Council she had called to hand over Ahmed Haroun a former State Minister for Interior who is indicted of the same charges as Kushyab.

Hamdok pledged to cooperate with the war crimes court stressing that achieving justice is was one of the slogans of the glorious December revolution, said a statement released by his office after the meeting.

"Sudan’s commitment to achieving justice is not only a matter of international obligations but rather comes in response to popular demands for achieving justice and the implementation of the glorious revolution slogans," reads the statement.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam al-Mahdi on Tuesday stated that the government The cabinet "decided to extradite those wanted by the ICC". She added that the decision awaiting final approval by the joint meeting of the government and the Sovereign Council.

On 3 August, the cabinet approved a draft law to join the ICC Rome Statute but, a statement issued after the regular meeting did not mention the handover of the wanted former officials.

After his meeting with al-Burhan, Khan stated that he had a "fruitful discussion" with al-Burhan.

The Head of the Sovereign Council affirmed his responsibility and commitment to achieving justice. Also, he expressed his understanding of my mandate as a prosecutor and of the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution No. 1593," he said according to a statement released by the Sovereign Council.

The Sudanese cabinet and the signatory groups of the peace agreement call to hand over the ousted President Omer al-Bashir and Haroun and former Interior Minister Abdel Rahim Hussein to The Hague court.

But, the military component of the Sovereign Council seems reluctant to move forward. Some of them including al-Burhan point to the principle of complementarity saying he can be tried inside Sudan with the support of the ICC.

U.S. calls for joint agreement over al-Bashir’s handover

In reaction to the statements of the Sudanese foreign minister about al-Bashir’s handover to the ICC, Ned Price, U.S. State Department Spokesperson welcome the decision of the Sudanese cabinet and called for a joint approval by the organs of the transitional authority in Sudan

"We do welcome the reconfirmation by the council of ministers, or the cabinet, of its intention to hand over former President al-Bashir and other former officials wanted by the ICC for crimes in Darfur," said Price during a press briefing on Wednesday

"We look forward to joint action by the cabinet and the sovereign council to finalize and execute this decision," he stressed.

The U.S. official further urged Sudan to continue to cooperate with the war crimes court pointing it would be a major step in the fight against decades of impunity.

(ST)

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