Sudan: EU Quizzes AG On Al-Bashir Extradition to the Hague

The International Criminal Court in The Hague (ICC/CPI), Netherlands.

Khartoum — The high-level EU delegation which paid a two-day visit to Khartoum last week, has asked Sudan's Attorney General, Tajelsir El Hibir, about the extradition of ousted President Omar Al Bashir to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to face prosecution for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

During a meeting with El Hibir on Thursday, the delegation led by the Deputy Secretary General of the European Union External Action Service, Jean-Christophe Belliard, the EU Director General for International Cooperation and Development, Koen Doens, and the EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, Alexander Rondos, asked the A-G to clarify Sudan's position on handing-over ousted president Omar Al Bashir, as well as the official position on the violent dismantling of the sit-in in front of the army command in Khartoum on June 3, which left more than 100 people dead and hundreds more wounded.

The attorney general confirmed that the prosecution is investigating all grave human rights violations that were committed since 1989, including extra-judicial killings, flagrant violations of human rights, and all other atrocities committed in Sudan during the former regime.

He said that Sudan needs technical support from the EU to investigate and try crimes related to corruption and money laundering.

As reported previously by Radio Dabanga, El Hibir has vowed to try perpetrators of serious human rights violations since 1989. At a press conference in Khartoum on Wednesday following a meeting with Houria Ismail, Commissioner General of the National Commission for Human Rights, he announced that the perpetrators of the killings of peaceful protesters in September-October 2013, as well as the violent dismantling of the sit-in in front of the army command in Khartoum on June 3, will be held to account.

El Hibir stated that the Public Prosecution is concerned with any human rights violations that occurred during the previous period and the punishment of the perpetrators of these crimes. He further called for Sudan to join the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

€466 million

A meeting between the EU delegation and Sudan's Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok in Khartoum on Wednesday, discussed cooperation between Sudan and the EU in various fields, as well as ways to support the ongoing efforts of the transitional government for cessation of war and realising peace and stability in the country.

The EU delegation also met with Sudan's Foreign Minister, Asmaa Abdallah on Wednesday during which they announced a package of support grants amounting to a total of €466 million, to support the transitional period in Sudan.

Al Bashir trial

Former Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir, who ruled the country for 30 years and was deposed by a military coup on April 11, is currently facing currency and corruption charges in Khartoum. However, there are calls from the international community, the Sudanese diaspora, as well as some voices within Sudan, that Al Bashir be extradited to face the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, that has indicted him on charges of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.

'Trial by media'

On Saturday, during a new session of the Khartoum court trying Al Bashir, Judge El Sadig Abdelrahman warned the media not to speak negatively about the case, or presume the guilt of the defendant, "lest it affect the progress of justice".

The official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reports that the Judge warned of any media influence that could undermine the progress of case, and asked the media "to be cautious and avoid all things that may incite sedition."

He pointed out that "justice has no winner or loser and legal rules must be implemented to reach fair justice."

Auditor General

At Saturday's sitting, which was ostensibly held to hear witness testimony from Sudan's auditor general, the court heard that the witness was out of the country. SUNA reports that the court has requested permission from Sudan's ruling Sovereign Council to lift his immunity, and to summons him and take legal action against him for failing to appear before the court.

Al Bashir's defence team requested the court to include a report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Sudan on lifting the economic blockade and financial transfers from and to Sudan as one of its documents.

The court will consider the defence requests and hear the auditor general during its coming sitting scheduled to convene on November 16.

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