Sudan will hand over longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court along with other officials wanted over the Darfur conflict, the country”s foreign minister Mariam al-Mahdi said on Wednesday.
Bashir, who ruled Sudan with an iron fist for three decades before being deposed in 2019, faces charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
Sudanese prosecutors last year started their own investigation into the Darfur conflict.
The Darfur conflict broke out when rebels from the territory’s ethnic central and sub-Saharan African community launched an insurgency in 2003, complaining of oppression by the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum.
Al-Bashir’s government allegedly responded with a campaign of aerial bombings and raids by militias known as janjaweed, who stand accused of mass killings and rapes.
The United Nations says that up to 300,000 people were killed and 2.7 million were driven from their homes during the conflict.
Human rights groups have long accused Bashir and his former aides of using a scorched earth policy, killing, looting and burning villages.
According to Sudan News Agency, the decision was taken after a consultative meeting in Khartoum between the office of the foreign ministry and the new chief prosecutor of the Hague-based court, Karim Khan.
ICC judges said in July that Bashir would be the first suspect to be tried over the Darfur conflict, facing 31 counts including murder, rape and torture.
Also handed over to the ICC are two other senior figures from al-Bashir’s rule, including former governor of South Kordofan state Ahmed Haroun, and the former minister of defence, Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein.
Both are wanted on the same charges. They were arrested after the fall of Bashir and are currently being held in Sudan.
The court also indicted rebel leader Abdulla Banda, whose whereabouts are unknown, and janjaweed leader Ali Kushayb, who was charged in May with crimes against humanity and war crimes.
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