Op-Ed: Sudan’s Bashir one step closer to the ICC

By Pieter Scribante, Economist and Political Analyst, NKC African Economies

On Tuesday, February 11, Sudan’s transitional government and rebel groups from Darfur agreed, in principle, that the individuals who are wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) should appear before the tribunal.

This announcement was made on Tuesday in Juba, the capital of neighbouring South Sudan, where government authorities and the Darfur rebels are engaging in peace talks.

Former President Omar Al-Bashir, who was deposed in a military-led coup in April 2019, is the most high-profile among the individuals wanted by the ICC: He faces charges of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.

However, as things currently stand, the government has no intention of extraditing Mr Bashir to The Hague. Al-Hassan Al-Taishi, a member of the Sovereign Council, stated that during the negotiation in Juba, the two sides agreed on a mechanism that would include “the appearance of those who face arrest warrants before the ICC”.

However, this agreement does not specify when and how Mr Bashir, and the other parties involved, will be tried.

Thus far, Mr Bashir has only been prosecuted domestically on charges of money laundering and corruption, with further charges pending. He has survived international prosecution due to disagreements within the Sovereign Council. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) – the civilian coalition in the Sovereign Council – have expressed their support for sending Mr Bashir to The Hague.

However, President Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan and the military bloc of the Sovereign Council vehemently oppose this. The senior military officers held powerful positions under Mr Bashir and likely fear the repercussions if he is convicted and the implications of their complacency and cooperation.

Currently, the government maintains the stance that Mr Bashir should face the ICC, but it has no intention of sending him out of the country.

The government favours a compromise in which the trial will take place in Sudan, through a hybrid ICC/domestic court. This has the benefit of smoothening the peace talks in Juba, gaining international support for Sudan, and allowing the government to keep a firm hand on the prosecution.

However, there are several problems with this plan. Sudan is not a signatory of the Rome Statute and does not recognise the ICC’s authority, thus the Court does not have jurisdiction in the country. Additionally, a trial of this nature is highly unorthodox. It is unlikely that the ICC would agree to a hybrid system – which could potentially include Sudanese officials – as it risks diminishing the reputation and verdict of the Court.

While the agreement between the Sovereign Council and the rebels in Darfur is extraordinary, it does not necessarily mean that Mr Bashir will have his day in court for his crimes committed in Darfur.

It is unclear how this will play out, and currently, this is just an agreement in principle. Sudan is under no legal obligation to hand Mr Bashir over to the ICC. Moreover, the ICC has not agreed to the hybrid system nor to a domestic prosecution.

However, this move has gained international attention and support for Sudan. This coincides with UN Secretary General António Guterres’s call to remove Sudan from the US State Sponsor of Terrorism List (SSTL) and “to mobilise massive international support to enable Sudan to overcome its challenges”.

This latest development plays directly into the government’s strategy of bringing peace to the Darfur region and riding a wave of optimism, which could help the ongoing talks with the US and increase the chances of being removed from the SSTL.

Related Content

Op-Ed: Sudan’s military takes control of the country

The military has taken control of the country and is arresting government officials – including former cabinet ministers and the leader of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) Ahmed Harun.

Sudan unrest: Latest up-date

Latest reports from Sudan indicate that the military has said it will not extradite deposed president Omar Al-Bashir who is charged with war crimes. Meanwhile, protesters have vowed not to stop protesting until a civilian rule is established. Hassan Elhagali, Professor of Political science at the University of Khartoum joins CNBC Africa to help us understand Bashir’s fate and the current situation.

How Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir was forced out of power by protesters

Sudanese people took to the streets for much more than a struggling economy, or the price of bread. They have been calling for freedom, peace, justice and the downfall of the Omar al-Bashir regime.

Sudan’s Bashir out and arrested

Sudanese President since 1993 Omar Al Bashir has stepped down after months of unrest in the Capital Khartoum. And now for more on this, Sudanese Freelance Journalist Elzahraa Jadallah joins CNBC Africa on phone to discuss the end of Bashir's regime.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC AFRICA delivered to your inbox

More from CNBC Africa

Battles rages for control of the National Lottery

Ithuba says Hosken Conslidated Investment's constant legal attacks are an attempt to take back control of the National Lottery from a black business woman. Charmaine Mabuza, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ithuba joins CNBC Africa for more.

Rwanda reopens meetings & conferences to revive COVID-19 hit hospitality sector

After months of lock-down, Rwanda Convention Bureau announced that the country will reopen meetings and conferences, as it tries to revive the tourism and hospitality sector. Janet Karemera, Deputy CEO of the Rwanda Convention Bureau joins CNBC Africa for more.

Angola agrees to comply fully with oil cuts after OPEC pressure, sources say

DUBAI/ LONDON (Reuters) - Angola has agreed with OPEC to comply fully with a global pact on supply curbs and will compensate...

COVID-19: What the reopening of domestic flight operations means for Nigeria’s aviation industry

Domestic operations in Nigeria’s aviation industry will commence from Wednesday the 8th of July. Captain Dele Ore, a Retired Pilot and Chairman of the Board of Trustee of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative joins CNBC Africa for more.

Partner Content

Maktech’s Godwin Makyao: Now Is A Time of Entrepreneurial Opportunity in East Africa

As an executive decision-maker in both the telecommunications and tourism industries, Godwin Makyao could not have experienced a more diverse set of...

Sanlam launches urgent job-preservation initiative in response to COVID-19

Sanlam Investments is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic through large-scale support of the recovery of South African companies, from small enterprises to...

Trending Now

Ivory Coast’s 2020 growth seen sliding to 0.8% due to pandemic

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Ivory Coast’s gross domestic product growth is expected to slow to 0.8% in 2020 compared to a previous forecast...

Omnia delivers solid results from a stabilised business

South Africa's biggest fertilizer producer Omnia was profitable in the year to March after extensively restructuring its business units. Omnia CEO, Seelan Gobalsamy joins CNBC Africa to breakdown the results.

South Africa has bad record on keeping budget promises: Fitch

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa has a poor track record of implementing debt and spending reductions plans, ratings firm Fitch said on...

Africa’s top publisher to close South African publications, cut jobs

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African media and e-commerce group Naspers plans to lay off more than 500 employees and close a number...
- Advertisement -