EYEAFRICA TV: The Hague, Netherlands: Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, yesterday told the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that Sudan must ensure that the five ICC suspects, including former President Omar Al Bashir “are brought to justice without undue delay, either in a courtroom in Sudan or in The Hague.”
Bensouda said, “the Office is not aware of any concrete information suggesting that the suspects in the Darfur situation are currently subject to domestic investigation or prosecution for the same criminal conduct alleged in the relevant ICC arrest warrants” and added that “unless and until Sudan can demonstrate to ICC judges that it is willing and able to genuinely investigate and prosecute the Darfur suspects for the crimes alleged in their respective arrest warrants, then these cases will remain admissible before the ICC.”
On December 14, a court in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum convicted former President Al-Bashir and sentenced him to two years in detention in a state-run reform center after he was found guilty of charges of corruption and illicit financial gains.
This is the first of many cases against Mr. Al-Bashir who was removed in power this year after nearly 30 years rule of one of the biggest African nation.
The Gambia-born ICC prosecutor said “Sudan has a legal duty to cooperate with my Office” and “cooperation with the ICC would clearly demonstrate to this Council and the international community at large that Sudan is committed to achieving justice for the victims in the Darfur situation, and that it has followed through on its declared commitments and assurances with visible and practical steps.”
Handing down his sentence on Mr Al-Bashir, Judge Al-Sadiq Abdelrahman said he court decided to refer Mr Al-Bashir to a community reform centre for two years. “Under the law, those who reached the age of 70 shall not serve jail terms,” he said.
The 75-year-old Al-Bashir will serve his sentence after the verdict has been reached in another case in which he is accused of ordering the killing of demonstrators during the protests that led to his removal, the judge said.
Sudanese Ambassador Omer Mohamed Ahmed Siddig, said the transitional government is fully committed to fighting impunity. We have started serious efforts to settle this issue in a manner that would satisfy the Sudanese people, especially the victims of Darfur. We will not allow any person to escape punishment and accountability.”
Al Bashir, Abdel Raheem Hussein, Ahmad Harun, Ali Kushayb and Abdallah Banda, are all wanted by the ICC for crimes committed in Darfur.