The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, has asked the Sudanese authorities to hand over Ahmed Harun, a former Sudanese interior minister who was charged with war crimes during the conflict in Darfur, to the court during a visit to this region of Africa Country.
Bensouda, who visited Darfur for two days to meet with victims and displaced persons, has asked Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok and the President of the Sovereign Transitional Council Abdelfatá al Burhan to hand Harun over to the ICC in court.
“I specifically discussed the case of Ahmed Harun, who, as you know, was charged with Ali Kushayb for the same crimes. The Ali Kushayb case has already started with the establishment of the confirmation of the indictment important to conduct the trial against these people together, “he argued.
Kushayb, a former leader of the Janjawid militias, volunteered in June 2020 after an arrest warrant was issued against him in 2007 for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
According to the International Criminal Court, between August 2003 and March 2004, Kushayb commanded thousands of “Janjawid” militias who assisted the Sudanese army in fighting rebel groups in Darfur, and allegedly employed a Sudan’s “counterinsurgency strategy” that also did resulted in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
“We trust that we have introduced the judges and believe that Kushayb will be brought to justice. That is why I have repeatedly emphasized that it is important to start with the handover of Ahmed Harun to the ICC, ”argued Bensouda, as reported by the news portal Sudan Tribune.
Harunm, who is charged with 20 crimes against humanity and 22 war crimes, is currently in custody in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, as transitional authorities argue they are in a position to bring him to justice.
In this sense, Al Burhan himself has given Bensouda “the full cooperation of the (Sudanese) judicial authorities to exercise justice and bring those responsible to account under the rules of the ICC,” according to a statement by the Sovereign Council of Transition after the encounter.
Hamdok, for his part, applauded Bensouda’s “efforts” “for justice” and expressed “the government’s renewed commitment to work with the court to achieve justice” without deciding whether or not to hand Harun over to the TPI.
The ICC chief prosecutor also recalled that the arrest warrants for former President Hasan Omar al-Bashir and other former high-ranking Sudanese officials are still in place and she hopes they will be carried out.
The Sudanese interim government has been open to the possibility of handover to ICC Al Bashir, who is currently on trial in the country for his role in the 1989 military coup that brought him to power.
The ex-president, who was overthrown in another coup in April 2019 after a wave of protests against him, was convicted of corruption charges in late 2019, but has not yet been prosecuted for alleged war crimes during his 30-year term.