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ICC prosecutor says Bashir and other suspects must face justice over Darfur

October 20, 2020 at 8:12 pm

Former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on 16 March, 2019 [ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP via Getty Images]

Ousted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and other suspects wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes and genocide in Darfur must face justice without further delay, the court’s chief prosecutor said on Tuesday.

Options for prosecuting them, including a trial in Sudan and a hybrid tribunal, were being discussed with Sudanese authorities, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told reporters during a visit to Khartoum.

“We are seeing what is possible,” Bensouda said. “They must all face justice without further delay.”

The ICC has outstanding arrest warrants against Bashir and three other Sudanese suspects on charges of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.

READ: Sudan army repels attack by rebel group in Darfur

The conflict in Darfur, in the west of Sudan, escalated from 2003 when mainly non-Arab rebels took up arms against Bashir’s government, triggering a campaign of repression by the army and mostly-Arab militias. More than 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed and 2.5 million displaced.

Bashir has been in jail in Khartoum since he was forced from office in April 2019 following months of protests.

Bensouda said she was encouraged by meetings with senior officials from the transitional authorities who assumed power after his overthrow.

“I particularly welcomed the assurances of support and cooperation expressed to me by the authorities during this visit,” she said.

Bashir appeared in a trial on Tuesday over the 1989 coup that brought him to power.