Sudan should transfer individuals indicted on charges of crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC), including the former President Omar al-Bashir, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.
The call came following the historic visit of the ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to Khartoum earlier this week to set the stage for constructive cooperation with Sudan and discuss options for the trial of former President Omar al-Bashir and others indicted over crimes committed in Darfur.
“ICC trials are essential to ensure justice and accountability for the victims of the heinous crimes committed in Darfur. For more than a decade the perpetrators of crimes under international law have evaded justice. The Sudanese authorities should now expedite the transfer of Omar al-Bashir and others to the ICC,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.
“While Sudanese authorities must take urgent steps to pursue national level accountability, and rightly explore alternative regional and international justice mechanisms, victims of atrocities must not be denied justice any longer. The ICC currently offers the most appropriate and timely recourse to justice while reform and strengthening of the weak and politically compromised judicial system is carried out.”
“The Sudanese authorities must cooperate fully with the ICC and grant the Court’s investigators unfettered access to Sudan and Darfur to collect evidence required for trial.
“They should swiftly ratify the Rome Statute and make a declaration accepting the Court’s jurisdiction over its territory and nationals effective 1 July 2002, to ensure that there is no safe haven for individuals responsible for crimes under international law in Sudan.”
The ICC investigation opened in June 2005, following referral of the situation by the UN Security Council. The investigation has produced several cases and arrest warrants, including arrest warrants against former President Omar Al-Bashir, whose warrants have been outstanding for over a decade.
Other ICC suspects include former Sudanese Government officials, militia/Janjaweed leaders, and leaders of the Resistance Front, who have been charged with crimes under international law, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.