Mixed Messages, Possible Bright Spots in Bashir Case
Despite recent reports by some media outlets that Former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir will be turned over to the ICC to face trial for his crimes in Darfur, it remains far from certain that this is the case. This post is meant to provide some clarity as to both the facts, and the position of the International Justice Project as to what should happen next.
The Facts: On Sunday, November 3, 2019, Ibrahim al-Sheikh, a representative of The Forces of Freedom and Change, the umbrella protest movement that helped lead to Bashir's ouster back in April, told members of the press that " We have no objection in handing over al-Bashir to the ICC. All the members of the Forces of Freedom and Change agree on that." Mr. Sheikh also seemed to take the position that Sudan would have to ratify the Rome Statute before Bashir can be turned over, though it was not entirely clear from his comments that this is the official position. While this is a positive development, as The Forces of Freedom and Change does have a role in the transitional government, it is important to note that Mr. Sheikh does not speak for the transitional government, and there have been no public statements from the transitional government voicing support for the idea of turning Bashir over to the ICC. Civilian leadership shares power in the transitional government with the Sudanese military. The military leadership has long opposed turning Bashir over to the ICC. The IJP remains concerned that many members of the military, including the high command, are complicit in the Darfur Genocide.
Bashir is currently held in government custody in Khartoum awaiting trial for corruption and other related domestic charges.
What Now? The International Justice Project reiterates its position that Omar al-Bashir must be turned over to the ICC to immediately face justice for his crimes against the people of Darfur. Even if he is found guilty and sentenced for his unrelated corruption crimes, this will not be the justice that the victims of his crimes in Darfur deserve. We further reiterate our position that no ratification of the Rome Statute by Sudan is necessary for Sudan, or any other country, to turn Bashir over to the ICC, as the case was referred to the ICC by a binding resolution, Resolution 1593, from the United Nations Security Council. We renew our call on the transitional government of Sudan to immediately turn Bashir over to the ICC to face trial.
We call upon the United Nations Security Council to take immediate action to uphold the binding authority of its Resolution 1593 by exerting maximum pressure on the transitional government of Sudan and all U.N. Member States to cooperate with the ICC on the Bashir Case.
We call upon the Office of the Prosecutor to engage with the transitional government of Sudan to work towards an agreement that will see Bashir turned over to the Court. We call upon the International Community to exert all peaceful measures to encourage the transitional government of Sudan to turn Bashir over to the ICC.
The IJP actively advocates for Bashir to be turned over to the ICC to face trial.
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