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Sudan’s Omar al Bashir to face war crime charges at ICC

Sudan is handing over Bashir and other officials to the International Criminal Court, where they face charges for human rights abuses committed during the 2003 Darfur conflict.

Former Sudanese strongman Omar al Bashir faces a host of charges related to the Darfur war. (Shiraaz Mohamed / AP)

Sudan will hand longtime autocrat Omar al Bashir to the International Criminal Court (ICC) along with other officials wanted over the Darfur conflict, Foreign Minister Mariam al Mahdi has said.

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The “cabinet decided to hand over wanted officials to the ICC,” Mahdi was quoted as saying by state media on Wednesday.

Bashir, who ruled Sudan with an iron fist for three decades before being deposed amid popular protests in 2019, faces charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Scores killed, millions displaced

The United Nations says 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million displaced in the conflict, which erupted in the vast western region in 2003.

Bashir, 77, has been wanted by the ICC since 2009, when it issued a warrant for his arrest.

The decision to hand him over came during a visit to Sudan by ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan.

Sudan has been led since August 2019 by a transitional civilian-military administration that has vowed to bring justice to victims of crimes committed under Bashir.

Khartoum signed a peace deal last October with key Darfuri rebel groups, with some of their leaders taking top jobs in government, although violence continues to dog the region.

The Darfur war broke out in 2003 when non-Arab rebels took up arms complaining of systematic discrimination by Bashir’s Arab-dominated government.

Khartoum responded by unleashing the notorious Janjaweed militia, recruited from among the region’s nomadic peoples.

Human rights groups have long accused Bashir and his former aides of using a scorched earth policy, raping, killing, looting and burning villages.

Last year, alleged senior Janjaweed militia leader Ali Muhammad Ali Abd al Rahman, also known by the nom de guerre Ali Kushayb, surrendered to the court.

ICC judges said in July he would be the first suspect to be tried over the Darfur conflict, facing 31 counts including murder, rape and torture.

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