Sudan’s transitional authorities and rebel groups from Darfur have agreed that those wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes in the region should appear before the tribunal, officials have said.
The announcement was made on Tuesday in Juba, the capital of neighbouring South Sudan, where the two sides are engaged in peace talks.
“We can only achieve justice if we heal the wounds … and we cannot escape from facing these … without the appearance of those against whom arrest warrants were issued by the International Criminal Court,” Mohamed Hassan al-Taishi, a member of Sudan’s sovereign council, told reporters.
Former president Omar al-Bashir, who was overthrown after mass protests last year, is wanted by the ICC, but his name was not mentioned in the statement. Government officials also told news agencies that al-Bashir and other suspects would be handed to the ICC for alleged war crimes in Darfur.
It was not specified when the decision would be carried out, and there was no immediate comment by the ICC.
Al-Bashir was sentenced in December by a court in the capital, Khartoum, to two years’ detention in a correctional centre for corruption in the first of several cases against him. He also faces trials or investigations over the killing of protesters and his role in the 1989 coup that brought him to power.
The government and rebels in late January agreed to establish a special court to prosecute those accused of carrying out war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. Al-Taishi said he expected the joint committee tasked with drafting the tribunal’s provisions to soon finish its work.
Sudan’s transitional government has pledged to establish peace in conflict-hit regions, including Darfur, and has restarted talks with rebel groups.
“Since talks started between the transitional administration and the rebel groups, handing over the former president has been a key demand to reach a comprehensive agreement,” Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from Khartoum, said.
“While the transitional government had previously said handing him over was to be left to an elected government, it seems like they had to make concessions, otherwise the talks would have reached a deadlock.”