The Sudanese leadership has decided to extradite former President Omar al-Bashir and several others to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which incriminates the former head of state with crimes against humanity and war crimes during the conflict in Darfur in 2003.
“The Cabinet of Ministers has decided to hand over the wanted officials of the ICC,” said Foreign Minister Maryam al-Mahdi. Her quotes AfricaNews. According to the state news agency Suna in Sudan, the decision was made after a meeting of representatives of the Foreign Ministry with the new Attorney General of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Karim Khan, who arrived in Khartoum.
Al-Bashir, 77, has ruled Sudan since June 1989. Then he led a military coup, as a result of which the government of Sadiq al-Mahdi was overthrown. Al-Bashir led the National Salvation Revolution Command Council, which assumed full legislative and executive power, became Prime Minister and Defense Minister, and was promoted to Lieutenant General and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. After he came to power, a state of emergency was declared in the country, the Constitution was abolished, the parliament and government were dissolved, and military tribunals were created. Al-Bashir established Sharia and declared Sudan an Islamic state.
Al-Bashir’s 30-year rule ended after massive protests broke out in the country that lasted several months. Since August 2019, Sudan has been led by a transitional civil-military administration, which has pledged to restore justice to victims of crimes committed under al-Bashir.
In December 2019, al-Bashir was sentenced to two years in prison on corruption charges. Given the age of the convict, he was sent to a special state institution for elderly prisoners.
The ICC issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir in 2009. Then he was put on the wanted list, informs Interfax.
In July 2021, the ICC announced that al-Bashir would be the first to be tried for crimes in Darfur. The ex-president’s case contains 31 counts of charges, including rape, torture and murder.
Other defendants in the criminal case for crimes in Darfur were the former head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Defense of Sudan Abdel-Rahim Mohammed Hussein, the ex-head of the security service Ahmed Harun, who was also the leader of the al-Bashir supporters’ party. Both former officials are under arrest in Khartoum. In addition, rebel leaders Abdullah Banda and the former leader of the pro-government militia, Ali Kushayb, are accused of crimes against humanity. The whereabouts of the Banda are unknown, and Kushayb has been taken into custody by a court in The Hague.
Conflict in Darfur
The confrontation between the Sudanese authorities and the tribes in Darfur began over disputes over the division of oil revenues. The Sudanese authorities have transferred large military reinforcements to Darfur and used military aircraft. The Janjaweed (equestrian devils) militia, organized from local Arabic-speaking nomads, was also involved. Nomads regularly attacked residents of areas where insurgents were operating. At the same time, the nomads burned down entire villages, killed and raped people.
At first, Janjaweed fighters drove out tribes to seize agricultural land, but after the discovery of oil fields in southern Darfur in 2005, their main goal was to create “ethnically cleansed” zones around the oil fields.
In 2004, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan warned the world community about the danger of genocide in Darfur. Observers compared Janjaweed’s actions to the massacre in Rwanda and their methods to ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia. The remoteness of the conflict zone made it difficult to deliver humanitarian aid to hundreds of thousands of victims. In addition, al-Bashir also expelled all foreign aid workers from the country, accusing them of supporting the rebels.
In 1997, the international community accused al-Bashir of trying to destabilize the political situation in the border states and the United States imposed economic, trade and financial sanctions against Sudan. After the events in Darfur in 2006, economic sanctions were tightened. Good Relations Sudan Manages to Maintain only with Russia, China and some other countries.
According to the UN, as a result of the conflict between rebels and government forces in Darfur from 2003 to 2006, about 300 thousand people died and 2.7 million became refugees.