Sudan’s premier backs demands for justice as ICC prosecutor visits

SUDANESE Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok says his government was committed to achieving justice as an International Criminal Court (ICC) delegation visited for the first time since the overthrow of ex-leader Omar al-Bashir.

The ICC issued arrest warrants against Bashir in 2009 and 2010 on charges of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity during his campaign to crush a revolt in Darfur in which an estimated 300,000 people died.

Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda

The delegation, led by Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, arrived in Sudan late on Saturday to discuss the cases of Bashir and two other former officials wanted by ICC.

Bensouda also met the powerful deputy leader of Sudan’s ruling council, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who said the government was willing to cooperate with the court, state news agency SUNA reported.

Though Sudanese transitional authorities have said they will work with the ICC for those accused of war crimes to appear before the tribunal, it is unclear where and how hearings would take place.

Bashir and the two other former officials, Ahmed Haroun and Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein, were jailed after the uprising that led to Bashir’s overthrow in April last year.

“Sudan’s commitment to achieving justice is not only part of international obligations, but also comes in response to popular demands to establish justice,” a cabinet statement cited Hamdok as saying as he met the ICC delegation.

Bashir has already been sentenced to two years in prison on corruption charges and is currently on trial over the military coup in which he took power in 1989.

His lawyer has denounced the various charges against the former president as politically motivated.

Hamdok’s civilian government is working under a military-civilian ruling council during a three-year transition that is meant to lead to elections. – Thomson Reuters Foundation.