Thursday, June 27, 2019

Mass killings in Darfur, Al-Bashir should face justice, says ICC - Al-Bashir taken from Kober prison to prosecutor's office in Khartoum Sudan, formally charged with corruption and money laundering

Here is a copy of an AFP report
Published Sunday 23 June 2019
By Channels Television
Sudan Killings: Al-Bashir Should Face Justice, Says ICC

June 23, 2019 (AFP) - The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Wednesday [19 June] demanded that deposed Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir stand trial for the mass killings perpetrated in Darfur.

“Now is the time for the people of Sudan to choose law over the impunity and ensure that the ICC suspects in the Darfur situation finally face justice in a court of law,” prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the UN Security Council.

Bashir, who has been in jail in Sudan since a military coup ended his 30-year rule in April, was indicted by the ICC in 2009 in connection with fighting in the western region of Darfur.

More than 300,000 people have died there and 2.5 million others have been displaced since 2003, according to UN figures.

Bashir appeared in a court in Khartoum on Sunday to hear corruption charges levelled against him. He also faces possible murder charges for the deaths of demonstrators killed during the protests that led to his downfall.

The generals who now rule Sudan have so far ruled out transferring Bashir to the ICC, which accuses him of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The ICC prosecutor said that after the tumultuous events of recent months, Sudan “is now at a crossroads with the opportunity to depart from its previous policy of complete non-cooperation.”

He urged the country to “embark on a new chapter by signalling a new commitment to accountability for the victims” in Darfur.

“I am ready to engage in dialogue with the authorities in Sudan to ensure that the Darfur suspects face independent and impartial justice, either in a courtroom in The Hague or in Sudan,” said Bensouda.

“Continued impunity is not an option,” she said. “The victims of the Darfur situation deserve to finally have their day in court.”

The ICC has issued five arrest warrants in connection with the Darfur case. As well as Bashir, two suspects, Abdel Raheem Hussein and Ahmad Harun, have reportedly been arrested in Sudan, Bensouda said.

Several members of the Security Council, most of them European states, have backed Bensouda’s calls for Bashir to be brought before the international court and for the new authorities in Khartoum to cooperate with the ICC.

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Sudan's Deposed Dictator Makes First Appearance Since Ouster

Photo: Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Sudan’s deposed leader, leaving the prosecutor’s office in Khartoum on Sunday 16 June 2019.
Credit Umit Bektas/Reuters

Article from The New York Times

By Declan Walsh
Published Sunday 16 June 2019

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Sudan’s deposed dictator, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, was taken from a prison in the capital Khartoum to face corruption charges on Sunday in his first public appearance since he was ousted from power in April.

Appearing in a white robe and turban, as he did for much of his 30 years in power, Mr. al-Bashir was led through the gates of Kober prison, a notorious facility where he once sent his own enemies.

His appearance quelled months of speculation among many Sudanese who suspected that, contrary to assertions by the country’s military leaders, Mr. al-Bashir was being quietly detained in luxury or had even managed to flee the country.

Security officials escorted Mr. al-Bashir, 75, to a vehicle that took him to the chief prosecutor’s office, where he was formally charged with corruption and money laundering. He did not speak to reporters waiting outside the jail.

Last month, Mr. al-Bashir was charged separately with involvement in the killing of protesters during the street demonstrations that led to his ouster on April 11. He did not appear in public then.

His predicament is a sharp contrast with the fortunes of his former enforcer, Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan, a militia leader groomed by Mr. al-Bashir who in recent weeks has emerged as one of the most powerful figures in Sudan.

General Hamdan faced global condemnation after June 3 when his paramilitary unit, the Rapid Support Forces, stormed through a protest site in central Khartoum, killing at least 118 people in a frenzy of shooting, rape and pillage, according to witnesses and doctors’ groups. General Hamdan’s troops now control Khartoum, causing many to view him as the country’s de facto leader, even if he is formally outranked by an older general.

But General Hamdan, known as Hemeti, appeared to be laying the groundwork for a political campaign this weekend when he addressed thousands of supporters at events in and around Khartoum, behaving in a political style that bore striking similarities to that of Mr. al-Bashir.

On Saturday, General Hamdan drove in a long, heavily armed convoy to Garrhi, nearly 40 miles north of Khartoum, where he addressed supporters in a dusty clearing near the Nile.

Photo: Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan, top right, the deputy head of the military council that assumed power in Sudan after the overthrow of Mr. al-Bashir, seemed to be laying the groundwork for a political campaign during a rally in Garawee, Sudan, on Saturday.
Credit Associated Press

He claimed that Western leaders were part of an unspecified plot to undermine him.

As he arrived under a blazing sun, he stood on top of a military vehicle, waving a stick at the cheering crowd in a manner that was reminiscent of Mr. al-Bashir. In his speech, he was sharply critical of the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which led the protests that forced Mr. al-Bashir’s ouster.

“Askariya! Askariya!” his supporters yelled during the speech, using the Arabic term for “army rule.”

Hundreds of soldiers surrounded General Hamdan as he spoke, positioned on buildings and trucks or sitting in pickups armed with heavy guns. After the rally, the vehicles sped off behind the general in a long trail of dust.

On Sunday, General Hamdan addressed a gathering of supporters in Khartoum.

The Transitional Military Council, which formally rules Sudan, wants to dampen a wave of withering global criticism as the extent of the violence on June 3, including numerous rapes and scores of bodies flung in the Nile, increasingly comes to light.

General Hamdan has been less apologetic. In an interview with The New York Times last week, he professed to disliking politics — “I hate politicians,” he said — but added that his ascent to power was necessary for stability. He showed few signs of intending to vacate power.

“The country needs the Rapid Support Forces more than the Rapid Support Forces need the country,” he said.

That growing prominence could put General Hamdan at odds with the regular army, stoking fears of further instability as Sudan maneuvers through the turbulent post-Bashir era.

Another test will be Mr. al-Bashir’s forthcoming corruption trial.

Officials raided his Khartoum homes in the days after his ouster, confiscating bundles of cash in dollars, euros and Sudanese currency. That money — millions of dollars — is now a central part of the case prosecutors are building against him. An additional 41 officials from his government also face corruption charges.

Mr. al-Bashir is not, however, in any immediate danger of answering to the charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity that he faces at the International Criminal Court in The Hague over his role in the conflict in the western region of Darfur.

The international court issued an arrest warrant for Mr. al-Bashir a decade ago. But Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the Military Transitional Council, who also served in Darfur, said Mr. al-Bashir would never be extradited to face those charges in a foreign court.

A version of this article appears in print on June 17, 2019, on Page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: Sudan’s Deposed Dictator Emerges for First Time Since Ouster. Order Reprints. Subscribe.


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