Panafrican News Agency

ICC Prosecutor on working visit to Sudan

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and her delegation arrived in Khartoum on Saturday and they were welcomed by the Sudanese authorities.

The ICC delegation is scheduled to hold meetings with Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok and other high ranking officials  to advance productive cooperation.

It is the first visit by a senior ICC official to Sudan since the Darfur rebellion broke out in 2003 and subsequent cases of genocide, including war atrocities in the country's western region attracted world attention.

Ms. Bensouda has described her first visit  to Sudan as “very historic”. The ICC has listed a number of senior government officials, including former President Omar Bashir, wanted persons.

They are accused of committing crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.

The Prosecutor said her several day visit to  Sudan aims at discussing with the government officials “cooperation” between the ICC and the Sudanese judiciary.

Trial of former dictator Bashir and some of his top aides involved in the Darfur atrocities, has started in the country but there are other issues related to corruption and undermining a democratically elected government.

Sudanese legal circles talked of possibility of trying Bashir at home to appease  tension, at least among the senior army generals, since trial outside the country  would spur wide discontent in the fragile government, shared by civilians and military generals in Khartoum.

One of the mechanisms the ICC could follow is trial at home but it has to make sure the judiciary and legal systems are independent and sovereign.

The ICC is also seeking the assistance of the Sudanese government in the trial of one of ten persons arrested and extradited to the Hague for trial, Abdul Rahaman Koushaib.

After Koushaib turned himself in it was difficult to secure the cooperation of the government of President Omar Bashir to obtain evidence and collect data. With the advent of the new regime in the Sudan, Bensouda said she hopes to secure during this visit cooperation from the government of Prime Minister Hamdouk to collect information as soon as possible for handling the case of Koushaib.

The ICC Prosecutor held her first meeting with Justice Minister Nassr ed-din Abdul Bari. She later met with a civilian from the 10-man Sovereign Council, the collective  hybrid, military civilian, presidency. She will stay in Sudan until Tuesday.

-0- PANA MO/AR 18Oct2020