A protester in front of the Ministry of Justice in Khartoum on September 23 [Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters]
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.
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“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 directly mentioned in the statement.
Conflict spread in Darfur in 2003 after mostly non-Arab rebels rose up against Khartoum.
Government forces and mainly Arab militia mobilised to suppress the revolt were accused of widespread atrocities. West Darfur had been largely calm since 2010, though there have been occasional skirmishes over the past three years.
An estimated 300,000 people were killed and 2.7 million driven from their homes.
Violence in the West Darfur region in January has killed at least 65 people and wounded more than 50, as well as displacing thousands, according to an international peacekeeping mission.
Following the announcement, one of al-Bashir’s lawyers was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency that the 76-year-old refuses to deal with the international tribunal which he denounced as a “political court”.
On December 14, al-Bashir was sentenced by a court in Khartoum to two years’ detention in a correctional centre for corruption in the first of several cases against him.
Along with al-Bashir, the ICC indicted two other senior officials – Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, who was interior and defence minister during much of the conflict, and Ahmed Haroun, a senior security chief at the time who last month was named by al-Bashir to run the ruling National Congress Party.
More to follow…
Al Jazeera and news agencies