Omar al-Bashir: Sudan agrees ex-president must face ICC

Omar al-Bashir (left) was convicted of corruption in December

Sudan’s rulers have agreed to hand over ex-President Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face genocide and war crimes charges.

Bashir is accused of serious crimes in a conflict that broke out in Darfur in 2003 and led to the deaths of 300,000.

Authorities said the former president, and others charged by the ICC, should appear at The Hague to face a tribunal.

The commitment came at peace talks between Sudan’s government and rebel groups from the Darfur region.

“Justice cannot be achieved if we don’t heal the wounds,” said Mohammed Hassan al-Taishi, a spokesman for the Sudanese government.

He told BBC Focus on Africa radio that Bashir and three others would be handed over to the ICC.

Asked if supporters of the ousted president would accept this decision, Mr Taishi replied that no-one was above justice.

“We are doing what the Sudanese people asked us to do,” he added.

Mr Taishi stressed that he was expressing the view of the government, which includes powerful generals in the military, and not his personal view.

Mr Taishi is a civilian member of Sudan’s sovereign council, the body overseeing the country’s transition to democracy.

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A step towards peace?

Analysis by Mohanad Hashim, BBC Sudan

The Sudanese delegation negotiating with rebels in Darfur has made a key concession to victims of the Darfur conflict by agreeing that all those wanted by the ICC should be transferred to the court in The Hague to stand trial.

The surrender of former President Bashir is, in fact, something that Sudan’s top military general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan alluded to at a meeting in December with victims of the conflict.

But there is no guarantee that it will happen – the generals may renege on the deal.

And if it does happen, it is unlikely to be anytime soon, as talks to end the conflict still have a long way to go and the transfer of the wanted men – from both sides of the conflict – would have to be part of a broader peace deal.

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Bashir, who refused to recognise the authority of the court when he was charged for crimes in the region in 2009, was ousted as president in April last year.

On Tuesday, one of his lawyers told Reuters news agency that Bashir would continue to refuse to deal with the ICC, describing it as a “political court”.

ICC prosecutors in The Hague requested that the former leader stand trial over the Darfur killings and issued an arrest warrant for him on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Media captionBBC Africa Eye tells the story of the 3 June massacre of protesters on the streets of Khartoum

The UN says that in addition to those killed in fighting between local armed groups, and Bashir’s forces and government-backed militia – such as the infamous Janjaweed – around 2.5 million people were displaced in the war.

Warrants for Bashir’s arrest were issued in 2009 and 2010 by the ICC.

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What is the ICC?

The court investigates and brings to justice people suspected of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, intervening when national authorities cannot or will not prosecute.

The ICC was established by a UN treaty in 2002, and has been ratified by 123 countries, including the UK.

However, several countries – including China, India, Russia and the US – have refused to join, while some African countries say the court is unfairly focused on Africans.

The international court has been criticised in the past for securing too few convictions, mishandling cases and over-reaching its jurisdiction.

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Bashir, 76, came to power in a military coup in 1989 and ruled Sudan with an iron fist.

In December, he was sentenced to two years in a social reform facility for corruption. Under Sudanese law, people over the age of 70 cannot serve jail terms.

Prosecutors in Sudan have also charged him with the killing of protesters during the demonstrations that led to him being ousted.

Bashir denies all allegations against him.

Link to web article.

Sudan agrees those wanted by ICC should appear before court

Announcement comes as Sudanese transitional authorities and Darfur rebel groups hold talks in South Sudan’s Juba.

A protester in front of the Ministry of Justice in Khartoum on September 23 [Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters]
A protester in front of the Ministry of Justice in Khartoum on September 23 [Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters]

Sudan‘s transitional authorities and rebel groups from Darfur have agreed that those wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes in the region should appear before the tribunal, officials have said.

The announcement was made on Tuesday in Juba, the capital of neighbouring South Sudan, where the two sides are engaged in peace talks.

“We can only achieve justice if we heal the wounds … and we cannot escape from facing these … without the appearance of those against whom arrest warrants were issued by the International Criminal Court,” Mohamed Hassan al-Taishi, a member of Sudan’s sovereign council, told reporters.

Former president Omar al-Bashir, who was overthrown after mass protests last year, is wanted by the ICC, but his name was not mentioned in the statement. Government officials also told news agencies that al-Bashir and other suspects would be handed to the ICC for alleged war crimes in Darfur.

It was not specified when the decision would be carried out, and there was no immediate comment by the ICC.

‘Key demand’

Al-Bashir was sentenced in December by a court in the capital, Khartoum, to two years’ detention in a correctional centre for corruption in the first of several cases against him. He also faces trials or investigations over the killing of protesters and his role in the 1989 coup that brought him to power. 

The government and rebels in late January agreed to establish a special court to prosecute those accused of carrying out war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. Al-Taishi said he expected the joint committee tasked with drafting the tribunal’s provisions to soon finish its work.

Sudan’s transitional government has pledged to establish peace in conflict-hit regions, including Darfur, and has restarted talks with rebel groups.

“Since talks started between the transitional administration and the rebel groups, handing over the former president has been a key demand to reach a comprehensive agreement,” Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from Khartoum, said.

“While the transitional government had previously said handing him over was to be left to an elected government, it seems like they had to make concessions, otherwise the talks would have reached a deadlock.”

Omar al-Bashir inside a cage at the courthouse during his corruption trial in Khartoum [File: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters]
Omar al-Bashir inside a cage at the courthouse during his corruption trial in Khartoum [File: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters]

Darfur crimes

Conflict spread in Darfur in 2003 after mostly non-Arab rebels rose up against Khartoum.

Government forces and mainly Arab militias mobilised to suppress the revolt were accused of widespread atrocities.

An estimated 300,000 people were killed and 2.7 million driven from their homes.

West Darfur had been largely calm since 2010, though there have been occasional skirmishes over the past three years.

Violence in the West Darfur region in January has killed at least 65 people and wounded more than 50, as well as displacing thousands, according to an international peacekeeping mission.

Following Tuesday’s announcement, one of al-Bashir’s lawyers was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency that the 76-year-old refuses to deal with the international tribunal which he denounced as a “political court”. 

Bashir has said the allegations made by the ICC, the world’s first permanent court for prosecuting war crimes, are part of a Western conspiracy.

The Hague-based ICC opened its investigation into Darfur in June 2005, following a referral to the court by the United Nations Security Council.

It issued arrest warrants for Bashir in 2009 and 2010 over his alleged role in war crimes including genocide in Darfur province, which he denies.

Along with al-Bashir, the ICC indicted two other senior officials: Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, who was interior and defence minister during much of the conflict, and Ahmed Haroun, a senior security chief at the time who last month was named by al-Bashir to run the ruling National Congress Party.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

Link to web article.

Israel, Sudan Agree to Normalize Relations!

By JNSFebruary 4, 2020 , 10:26 am

In that day, my Lord will apply His hand again to redeeming the other part of His people from Assyria—as also from Egypt, Pathros, Nubia Isaiah 11:11 (The Israel Bible™)

Sandstorm in Sudan ( Shutterstock)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Sudan’s transitional leader, Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, while the two were in Uganda on Monday.

During the meeting, which was held at the residence of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, the two leaders agreed to gradually normalize ties.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu believes that Sudan is headed in a new positive direction and he expressed his views to the Secretary of State of the United States of America,” Netanyahu’s official Twitter account wrote.

PM of Israel @IsraeliPM

H.E. Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Chairman of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan, Lieutenant General Abdel H.E. Fattah al Burhan, met today in Entebbe, Uganda, on the invitation of H.E. President of the Republic of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. 282 7:46 PM – FEB, 2020

The announcement is a major milestone for Israel and its efforts to expand ties in Africa.

Sudan, which is an Arab-Muslim-majority country that borders Egypt to the south, has long been viewed as a hostile nation towards the Jewish state. However, long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir, who the international community regards as a war criminal for his role in the Darfur genocide, was ousted last year, and it appears that the country is seeking modernize, end its international isolation, and establish friendlier ties with foes such as Israel and the United States.

The meeting was purportedly orchestrated by the United Arab Emirates, and that only a “small circle” of top officials in Sudan as well as Saudi Arabia and Egypt knew about it ahead of time, the Associated Press reported. Sudan is hoping that by forging warm ties with Israel, it would increase its chances for the U.S. to remove its status as a state-sponsor of terrorism, which it was designated as in 1993. Under al-Bashir, Sudan also forged close ties with Iran and served as a pipeline to supply weapons to Palestinian terror groups such as Hamas. Israel is believed to have been behind airstrikes in Sudan that destroyed a weapons convoy in 2009 and a weapons factory in 2012.

On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with Burhan and invited the Sudanese leader to Washington.

Currently, Sudan is without a president; Burhan heads a transitional 11-person government in Sudan. Democratic elections are scheduled for 2022.

Sudanese General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the country’s Sovereign Council, … met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Uganda on 3 February 2020 (AFP)

https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/144543/israel-sudan-agree-to-normalize-relations/