The Sudanese government announced, on Tuesday, its commitment and approval to extradite people, against whom the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants on charges of committing “war crimes” in the western region of Darfur.
This came in media statements made by Mohamed Hassan Al-Taishi, spokesman for the Sudanese government’s negotiating delegation in peace talks taking place in Juba, the capital of the state of southern Sudan.
The statements were released after a negotiation session between the Sudanese government and armed movements in Darfur, within the framework of the Darfur path of negotiations in Juba.
“The government’s approval to extradite the persons, against whom arrest warrants were issued, to the International Criminal Court is linked to the Sudanese state’s firm belief in the supremacy of justice and countering impunity. We will not be able to heal the country from the devastating effects of war unless we achieve justice,” Al-Taishi said.
He added: “In the session today (Tuesday), we focused on the files of justice and reconciliation and the land. As far as the first file is concerned, I will be frank: We agreed on the institutions entrusted with achieving justice during the transitional period, and this step is backed by a deep conviction that it will be impossible for us to reach a comprehensive peace agreement without agreeing on the institutions to be tasked with implementing transitional justice, and on the principles of fighting impunity.”
Al-Taishi continued: “We committed ourselves and agreed today to hand over the persons, against whom arrest warrants were issued, to the International Criminal Court, then we agreed on establishing a special criminal court for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, which is mandated to investigate and conduct trials in the cases, including international criminal cases,” without disclosing further details about the content of the agreement.
He added: “We agreed on major issues in order to achieve justice in Darfur, including the extradition of the persons, against whom arrest warrants were issued, to the International Criminal Court. We can achieve justice only if we heal the wounds of war by redeeming the rights of the victims, as we can never escape the fact that many crimes against humanity and war crimes were committed against innocent people in Darfur and other regions. We cannot achieve justice and heal wounds, without handing over the persons, against whom arrest warrants have been issued, to the International Criminal Court.”
Al-Taishi asserted: “We want to achieve a comprehensive peace in Sudan and address the deeper causes of war. However, we must be aware of to the consequences of the long war that took place in Darfur, and in other regions of Sudan, which left victims under pain of all sorts of human rights violations. No matter how hard we strive to address the roots of the crisis in Sudan and prevent any similar scenario in the future, we cannot move forward without achieving justice and restoring the victims’ rights.”
The Darfur region has witnessed, since 2003, an armed conflict between government forces and rebel movements, which led to the death of about 300,000 people and the displacement of some 2.5 million others, according to the United Nations.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued two arrest warrants against Al-Bashir, in 2009 and 2010, on charges of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur. Thus, the ousted president denied the charges and accused the ICC of being politicized.
The ICC also accused former Sudanese Minister of Defence Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein, former governor of Southern Kordofan, Ahmad Haroun, and tribal leader and militia commander in Darfur, Ali Kushayb, of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
The Juba negotiations focus on five tracks: the Darfur path (West), the Southern Kordofan (South) and Blue Nile (Southeast) path, in addition to the Eastern Sudan path, the Northern Sudan path, and the Central Sudan path.
Achieving comprehensive peace in Sudan is one of the most prominent files entrusted to Abdalla Hamdok’s government, during a transitional period that began on 21 August, and lasts for 39 months ending with elections, during which power is shared by between the army and Forces of Freedom and Change alliance (FFC), leader of the protest movement in the country.