London — More than 65 Sudanese and international civil society organisations are calling on the Sudanese government to transfer former President Omar Al Bashir and the other indicted persons to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague "without delay".
The "victims should not be made to wait any longer for justice," the 67 Sudanese and international signatories state in their letter sent to Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, the Sovereignty Council and the Council of Ministers yesterday.
"We were deeply encouraged to learn that the Council of Ministers approved in June the transfer of three individuals currently in Sudanese custody to the International Criminal Court (ICC)," the letter reads.
"We are now writing to urge the Sovereign Council to follow suit and swiftly facilitate the handover of Omar al-Bashir, Ahmed Haroun, and Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein. We commend the transitional government for the historic steps that it has already taken to cooperate with the ICC, including by facilitating the ICC Prosecutor's first visit to Darfur in connection with the ongoing case for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Ali Kushayb.
"We particularly welcome the Council of Ministers' historic announcement that Sudan intends to ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC, joining 123 other States in standing against impunity.
'We encourage the transitional government to now translate its recent commitment to ending decades of impunity into action by transferring the ICC's outstanding fugitives without delay.'
"Transferring al-Bashir, Haroun and Hussein to the ICC will further demonstrate the Sudanese transitional government's commitment to implementing the Juba Peace Agreement and ensuring accountability for those who commit the most severe violations of human rights and mass atrocities, and will be timely ahead of the opening of the UN General Assembly in September, when Sudan's leadership will make a speech on the international stage alongside other world leaders.
"According to the UN Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, an estimated 400,000 people were killed, countless women and girls were systematically raped and subjected to other forms of sexual and gender-based violence, and more than 2.5 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes.
"Former president Omar Al Bashir and the other individuals facing ICC arrest warrants should not be permitted to evade justice for their alleged crimes committed in Darfur, including genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. All perpetrators of such serious crimes should be held accountable.
"In Resolution 1593, the UN Security Council stated that "[t]he Government of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict in Darfur shall co-operate fully with and provide any necessary assistance to the Court." Transferring suspects wanted by the Court, as provided for under Resolution 1593, will help demonstrate Sudan's commitment to returning to the rules-based international order, as previously indicated by the government's approval of the ratification of key human rights treaties.
"The 2019 Constitutional Document mandates transitional authorities to "[h]old members of the former regime accountable in accordance with law for all crimes committed against the Sudanese people since 30 June 1989." But two years after Sudan's revolution, no proceedings have been initiated to try al-Bashir, Haroun, or Hussein for their role in serious international crimes committed in Darfur. The complexity and high costs of prosecuting the highest-level suspects for atrocity crimes would be a significant challenge for the Sudanese judicial system.
"We encourage the transitional government to now translate its recent commitment to ending decades of impunity into action by transferring the ICC's outstanding fugitives without delay. Victims should not be made to wait any longer for justice," the civil society organisations stated.