Khartoum, Sudan (PANA)- The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, has concluded a three day official visit to Khartoum observing that “there is an urgent need for justice in Sudan."
"Sustainable peace and reconciliation are built on the stabilizing pillar of justice,” she said.
In a lengthy statement summarising her visit, Bensouda stressed that the victims in Darfur have waited far too long to have justice.
“This first historic visit to Khartoum after more than a decade provided an opportunity for Sudan’s Transitional Government to demonstrate its commitment to justice, accountability and the rule of law,” Bensouda said adding that she was encouraged by the frank, open and constructive exchanges they have had.
“I particularly welcome the assurances of support and cooperation expressed to me by the authorities during this visit, including from Prime Minister Hamdok, committing Sudan to achieve justice for atrocity crimes, and to fully collaborate with my Office for this purpose,” she pointed out.
The ICC Prosecutor's Office has been investigating the restive region of Darfur in western Sudan since 2005 when the United Nations Security Council, through Resolution 1593 (2005), referred the situation to to the Court.
“Much has happened since then. As we continue our investigations today, it is important for our work at the ICC, and especially the affected communities of Darfur, that the Sudanese authorities extend their full, sustained and tangible cooperation to my Office,” Bensouda underlined.
In Khartoum, the prosecutor “engaged in productive meetings” with the highest officials of the Government of Sudan and other important stakeholders, including a meeting with Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, Minister of Justice Nasredeen Abdelbari, and Prosecutor General of Sudan Tag el-Sir el-Hibir.
Bensouda also had consultations with representatives of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan, Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan and Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo as well as and Mr Mohamed Hassan Altaishi.
Bensouda said she held “fruitful discussions” with representatives of civil society organisations, international bodies, and diplomatic corps in Khartoum.
“These meetings have enabled me and my team to explain ICC proceedings, and the status of our cases in connection with the Situation in Darfur, Sudan and to chart a course for effective cooperation to bring the suspects against whom ICC warrants have already been issued to justice,” Bensouda said.
“My meetings with the authorities have laid the foundation for cooperation between the ICC and the Sudanese national authorities.”
She said that the ICC counts on Sudan’s tangible and timely cooperation as well as continued constructive engagement with her Office.
“We stand ready to assist Sudan towards the goal of achieving accountability for atrocity crimes committed in Darfur.”
She reassure the civilians in Darfur that her Office continues to work hard on the region.
“I solemnly call upon all affected Darfuri communities and those who have dedicated themselves to the cause of these communities, to come forward and contact my Office with the accounts of their sufferings, with the stories of what they have witnessed and what they have endured.
“With their evidence, we can contribute to bringing the long awaited justice to the victims in Darfur. My Office, together with colleagues in the Registry of the Court will soon embark on outreach activities to further explain the work of the ICC and its processes.”
The Prosecutor has meanwhile revealed names of five top officials wanted by the ICC. She was hopeful that the Sudanese government would cooperate to extradite them for trial
These include alleged militia leader, Mr Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman aka Ali Kushayb who was transferred to the Court following his voluntary surrender.
Also the ICC has outstanding arrest warrants against Omar Al Bashir, Ahmad Harun, Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein, and Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain.
She said these suspects are still wanted for the atrocity crimes listed in their ICC warrants of arrest. They must all face justice without further delay.
"We look forward to continuing our dialogue with the Sudanese authorities to ensure we make progress on these cases with full respect for our respective roles and mandates and the principle of complementarity," she said.
The ICC Prosecutor has stressed that “the opportunity to prosecute other alleged suspects in the Darfur situation at the national level is possible through the Darfur Special Court, as provided for in the Juba Peace.”
-0- PANA MO/AR 21Oct2020