Sudan: Peace Talks - Perpetrators of War Crimes in Darfur Be Taken to the Hague

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir addresses the general conference of the ruling National Congress Party in Khartoum, Oct. 23, 2014.
11 February 2020

Khartoum — The government peace talk's delegation and the leaders of the Darfur rebel movements, currently engaged in peace talks in Juba, South Sudan, said they have agreed to take deposed President Omar Bashir and his accomplices in the Darfur war crimes and genocide to The Hague to stand trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The two sides have said they have come to an understanding that the only way to achieve justice for the victims of the war is to take the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court (ICC) that has sent warrant of arrest against them.

The government delegation to the talks is headed by member of the Sovereign Council, Mohamed Al-Hassan Al-Taayeshi. The current session of talks involves the Darfur track. The two sides met under the supervision of South Sudan Chief Mediator and Advisor of South Sudan President, Tut Gulwak.

In a press statement, Al-Taayeshi said that the talks between the two sides were focused on two important questions which are the justice and reconciliation and lands. He said the two sides have agreed on the institutions entrusted with achieving justice during the transitional period.

He said the two sides were convinced now that it would not be possible to reach a comprehensive peace without agreeing on these institutions to accomplish the task and to agree on the principles of non-impunity.

The member of the Sovereign Council, the collective presidency, referred to the agreement on four main mechanisms for achieving justice in Darfur, the first of which is the appearance of the persons against whom arrest warrants were issued before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for trial, the Special Mechanism for the Darfur Crimes Court, which is a special court mandated to investigate and conduct trials in cases that include the cases raised by the International Criminal Court, the traditional justice mechanism and the issues relating to justice and reconciliation.

The government official said his government has come to the conviction that without bringing those who committed war crimes and ethnic cleansing, genocide and other crimes in the conflict areas in Darfur and other areas of the country, justice would not be served and the slogans raised by the revolution that toppled Bashir would not be crystalized.

In the past the military components of the Military Council, the body that ran the country before the formation of the interim civilian led government, disapproved of taking deposed president to a court of law in The Hague. They argued that he was being tried in the Sudan and that the Sudanese justice system was competent to handle such issues.

Opposition have argued that the Sudanese laws do not contain specific articles on ethnic cleansing or war crimes or genocide, therefore he should be transferred for trial outside the Sudan, in the Hague.

On Tuesday the member of the Sovereign Council has however said his government's conviction in approving the "appearance of those against whom arrest warrants were issued before the International Criminal Court emanates from a basic principle related to justice, which is one of the slogans of the Revolution, and is also linked to the principle of non-impunity."

The ICC has issued a warrant of arrest against deposed President Omar Bashir while he was in power. The African Union opposed the move of bringing a serving president before the ICC and sent a number of delegations to the UN Security Council to discuss the matter and find a way out. They did not agree on the matter.

The ICC accused Bashir and a number of other senior government, military, political and partisan officials of war crimes in Darfur. The Darfur armed movements, now called the Struggle Movements, have all along called for bringing Bashir to The Hague.

Taayeshi stressed that "the bitterness caused by the war and its destructive impacts cannot be remedied without realization of justice," adding that all the Sudanese people want solutions for the root causes of war.

He stated that "we must not forget that the consequences of the long war in Darfur and other regions have left victims under pain of all human violations, so there shall be justice and equity for the victims". He did not however give any names, but confined himself to repeating that those who committed crimes in Darfur and other conflict zones and are sought by the ICC should stand trial there.

However it is expected that the military components of the current government would have a strong reaction, as Bashir was dethrone while he was still a field Marshal, the top military post in which the occupant is never considered retired even if he left the services. He would continue enjoying all the privileges of on services.

Bashir has already been tried for embezzlement and misappropriation and sentenced to two years to be spent in a reform establishment, a rather humiliating sentence for a top general.

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