from RAJI BASHIR in Khartoum, Sudan
KHARTOUM, (CAJ News) – SUDAN’S pledge to hand over former president, Omar al-Bashir, for trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been hailed as a welcome step for victims of gross human rights violations in the Darfur region.
The transitional government if the northeastern African country has hinted at handing al-Bashir (76) and indicted individuals to answer charges including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed in Darfur.
The handover, which would indicate a spectacular fall from power, would end years of the former dictator evading two warrants of arrest issued in the last decade.
Al-Bashir and co-accused persons are wanted for murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape of hundreds of thousands of people during the conflict which began in 2003 and is ongoing in Darfur.
The United Nations (UN) estimates that 300 000 people have been killed.
Amnesty International, the human rights group, said a trial at the ICC would offer respite to victims and their families.
Julie Verhaar, Amnesty Acting Secretary-General, said Sudanese authorities should thus translate the pledge to hand over al-Bashir into action immediately.
“Authorities should further show that the era of impunity for al-Bashir’s government is over by bringing to justice all other alleged perpetrators of horrific crimes of the previous regime,” Verhaar said.
Al-Bashir was the first sitting president to be wanted by the ICC, and the first person to be charged for the crime of genocide.
Neither of the two warrants issued in 2009 and 2010 has been enforced.
Al-Bashir’s legal woes have been mounting since his ouster last April.
Last year, he was sentenced to two years for corruption and illegitimate possession of foreign currency.
He is scheduled to face a charge of plotting the 1989 coup that brought him to power.
– CAJ News