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Sudan: Bashir's first deputy prefers ICC to Darfur court

Judge Ahmet Ali (L) leads Sudan's ousted president Omar al-Bashir's trial along with others over the 1989 military coup that brought them to power, at a courthouse in the capital Khartoum on 19 January 2021. [Mahmoud Hjaj - Anadolu Agency]
Judge Ahmet Ali (L) leads Sudan's ousted president Omar al-Bashir's trial along with others over the 1989 military coup that brought them to power, at a courthouse in the capital Khartoum on 19 January 2021. [Mahmoud Hjaj - Anadolu Agency]

Ahmed Haroun, former Sudanese interior minister and first deputy of ousted President Omar Al-Bashir, announced on Tuesday that he would prefer to appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands, rather than be tried in his country.

The ICC issued arrest warrants for Al-Bashir, Haroun, former Defence Minister Abdel Rahim Hussein and leader of Janjaweed militia Ali Kushayb in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012, on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in the western Darfur region.

Haroun said in a statement that the current authority in Sudan will not be able or is not willing to achieve justice, reported Al-Sudani newspaper.

Since 21 August 2019, Sudan has gone through a transitional phase, during which power is shared between the army, civilian forces and the armed movements that signed a peace agreement with Khartoum on 3 October, and will end with holding elections in early 2024.

Haroun stated: "I confidently declare that it is better for me to present my case, if there is a case worth presenting, to the International Criminal Court."

He continued: "I am as keen as anyone else affected by this war to know the truth about what happened, who caused it, and the extent of responsibility that each party bears in this matter, whether it be the government or the rebel movements."

READ: Sudan dismisses 82 judges, prosecutors

The former official asserted: "It is important to clarify the responsibility of all levels of leadership and the different parties involved in the conflict in Darfur. All the commanders on the ground at the time became the country rulers today, including the military components of the Sovereignty Council, the former military council and the security committee that led the coup against legitimacy. "

On 11 April 2019, army leaders removed Al-Bashir from power under the weight of popular protests condemning the deteriorating economic conditions.

On 19 October, the Sudanese government announced that it had discussed with the ICC three options for prosecuting people accused of committing war crimes in Darfur, including the establishment of a special court or a mixed court (between Sudan and the ICC), or handing over the suspects to The Hague tribunal.

In 2003, an armed conflict erupted in Darfur between government forces and rebel movements, which led to the death of approximately 300,000 people and displaced 2.5 million others, according to the United Nations.

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AfricaICCInternational OrganisationsNewsSudan
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