CSW welcomes a statement issued by the transitional government of Sudan on 11 February, pledging to hand over those indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for atrocity crimes.
The commitment was made during peace talks hosted in Juba between the transitional government and rebel groups in the troubled Darfur region. The statement acknowledges that in order for true justice to be delivered for Darfuri victims, all those indicted by the ICC will be handed over. While former President Omar al Bashir was not explicitly mentioned in the statement, he is charged with five counts of crimes against humanity, two counts of war crimes and three counts of genocide pertaining to acts committed between 2003 and 2008 in Darfur. Warrants for his arrest were issued by the ICC on 4 March 2009 and 12 July 2010.
The ICC’s investigation on Darfur was opened in June 2005, following a referral by the United Nations (UN) Security Council. It includes the investigation of alleged acts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the region since 1 July 2002 when the Rome Statute came into force.
Al Bashir seized power in 1989, and ruled until he was deposed in April 2019, following months of nationwide protests. During his rule he oversaw widespread violations of human rights, including of the right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB). In 2003 conflict broke out in Sudan’s Darfur region, where some 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed. The conflict in Darfur erupted as al Bashir’s government was negotiating an end to the civil war in the south of the country that resulted in the creation of South Sudan.
CSW’s Press and Public Affairs Team Leader Kiri Kankhwende said: “CSW welcomes the agreement undertaken by the Sudanese government to hand over those indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). We urge the transitional authorities to ensure the transfer includes former president Omar al Bashir for his alleged part in the mass atrocities committed in Darfur since 1 July 2002. The statement is an important initial step towards guaranteeing justice for Darfur, and is of great significance to the Sudanese people. If enacted, it will strengthen international mechanisms for holding perpetrators of mass atrocities to account. We therefore urge the international community to support the transitional government as it engages with the ICC to bring every indictee to justice.”