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Mariam Al-Mahdi calls for referring Sudan ‘coup’ to ICC

November 6, 2021 at 3:21 pm

Thousands stage a demonstration demanding the end of the military intervention and the transfer of administration to civilians in Khartoum, Sudan on October 30, 2021 [Mahmoud Hja/Anadolu Agency]

Dismissed Sudanese Foreign Minister Mariam Al-Mahdi called on Friday to refer the “crime” of the military coup carried out by army chief Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In her written speech to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which is holding a special session on Sudan, Al-Mahdi stated: “Considering the military coup among the crimes that fall within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court… is a matter that needs to be activated in a practical way.”

Although the session held in Geneva did not broadcast the minister’s speech, it was published on the Sudanese Ministry of Culture and Information’s Facebook page.

Al-Mahdi was one of the Sudanese officials in the file of handing over ousted President Omar Al-Bashir to the ICC.

UNHRC will hold its session after Al-Burhan declared on 25 October the state of emergency in the country and the dissolution of the Sovereignty Council, which he headed.

Since his announcement of these decisions, the country has witnessed a wave of protests, with demonstrators closing the streets and declaring civil disobedience. The security forces confronted the protesters several times with violent repression, which resulted in the killing of 13 demonstrators and the wounding of about three hundred, according to the UN.

READ: UN Rights Chief urges restored civilian rule after Sudan military takeover

Friday’s session in Geneva discussed a draft resolution submitted by the UK, Germany, Norway and the US on the “immediate restoration” of the civilian government in Sudan. During the session, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet described what happened in Sudan as “extremely worrying”.

“All those arbitrarily detained must be released in order to establish a dialogue and return to civilian rule,” she added.

On Thursday, Al-Burhan issued a decision to release four ministers detained following the military coup last month. This followed mounting international pressure on the military who carried out the coup and excluded civilians from power to resume the democratic transition.

Al-Burhan’s decision came shortly after the army announced that “the formation of the government is imminent,” and after a telephone call between Al-Burhan and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who called for restoring power to civilians.

Sudan's military seized power and arrested Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok

Sudan’s military seized power and arrested Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

After the decision to release the ministers, the Ministry of Culture and Information’s Facebook page reported on Thursday night that the security authorities had arrested three Sudanese politicians in front of the UN mission headquarters, including the Political Secretary of the Sudanese Congress Party Sharif Muhammad Othman.

According to what was broadcast on state television on Friday, Al-Burhan decided: “To dissolve all boards of directors of government companies and agricultural and national projects.”

In 2019, the military who took power after the overthrow of Al-Bashir following an unprecedented massive popular protest movement, and the civilians who led those protests, agreed to share power for a transitional phase. At the end of this phase, power will be handed over to a democratically-elected civilian government.

However, the recent military coup toppled the transitional process as well as hopes for a democratic transition.