Sudan: Demanding Workload for the Attorney General

On the outskirts of El Fasher in North Darfur, women ride donkeys on the road to Khartoum, Sudan.
2 December 2019

Khartoum — (Sudanow) - The Attorney General of the Republic of Sudan Taj Alsir Alhibir is full handed with the intricate legacy of the Bashir era, fighting in all directions to do justice to those harmed by the defunct regime and to restore billions of stolen government money.

In a statement marking the first anniversary(19 December 2018) of the outbreak of the mass protests that eventually removed Bashir from power, Hibir said: The Attorney General Office is keen and committed to question all the perpetrators of violations and all who spilled the blood of the revolution martyrs and bring them to justice.

Hibir said his office has opened all files starting from 1989 down to 2019 to end all forms of impunity. "In this respect investigation panels are working day and night, to complete the investigations," he said.

Attorney Alhibir is possibly referring here to some public outcries and families of the martyrs complaints that his office is slow in dispensing its duties.

As regards the call for legal reform, Hibir said his office had forwarded a collection of draft laws to the Ministry of Justice for processing.

Hibir said one of those draft laws is meant to redress the law that absolves a convict above seventy years from spending his prison term in an ordinary prison and, instead, sends him to a reform institution or else hands him to the next of kin for care, according to his health condition and the gravity of his offence.

A court of law has recently ruled ousted President Omar Al-Bashir to be sent to a reform institution for two years after being convicted for corruption and of illegal possession of huge sums of hard currency. The court said Bashir was above seventy and accordingly should not be sent to an ordinary prison and, instead, ruled to send him to a reform center to spend his term.

The Sudan's constitution for the transitional period (called the Constitutional Document) has called for legal reform and the punishment of elements from the defunct regime found guilty of crimes against the country's citizens or corruption crimes.

"Families of the martyrs have every right to see the law enforced and justice done," said Hibir.

"In this concern we will reconsider immunities and everything that impedes the arrest of suspects," he said, adding that "all helping organs have expressed readiness to cooperate, and we urge these organs to commit to dropping immunities whenever asked to."

He further urged for the creation of mechanisms for protecting witnesses, because "this is essential for completing the investigations and for putting the accused on trial."

Reports also said about a dozen of the perpetrators of the June 1989 coup that brought Bashir to power have been incarcerated in jail. The list includes both military and civilian figures and the Attorney General's office is after more suspects in this case.

Meanwhile, the office of the Attorney General has said it was examining the dossiers of 400 corruption cases.

It said it was also working hard on the dossier of the forcedly disappeared citizens" and "we are proceeding with open eyes in this case, given its importance."

Further, a security crackdown on the third of July 2019 on the massive sit-in around the army headquarters had left 125 protesters dead and over 20 unaccounted for. Most of the last category have been found either dead or in bad health condition and the popular committee tracing them now says about five persons are not accounted for yet.

Over the years and since the 1989 military coup, press and rights groups reports had continued to speak about political activists who simply disappeared or killed by the security without trial. Some reports now put the figure at over 375.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General's office has confirmed to a visiting delegation from the US State Department's office of Global Criminal Justice, lead by Ms. Kelly Currie, that it will do its best to put every member of the army or the security organs found involved in crimes during the previous 30 years on a fair and immediate trial.

Mubarak Mahmood Osman, an assistant to the Attorney General, told the US envoys that in case the units of those accused refuse to lift their immunity, it will file the case to the Sovereign Council (the head of state) for decision.

Osman said in keeping with the Constitutional Document, that prevents impunity, the Attorney General had formed investigation panels to investigate "all incidents" that took place since June 1989.

He said all those panels were accorded the authority of the Attorney General stipulated in the criminal procedures code of 1991.

He said a number of commissions would be set for human rights, fighting corruption, the restoration of stolen money and legal reform. He said those commissions will assume a significant role in legal reform.

For her part Ms. Currie has expressed her country's readiness to render all the required technical help for legal reform in the Sudan.

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