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Sudan ousted president wanted by the ICC

Sudan’s rulers have agreed to hand over ex-President Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face genocide and war crimes charges. The commitment came at peace talks between Sudan’s government and rebel groups from the Darfur region.

Bashir is accused of serious crimes and is facing five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes that were allegedly committed in a conflict that broke out in Darfur in 2003 and 2008, that led to the deaths of 300,000 people and displacement of 2.5 million.

The former president and three others charged by the ICC should appear at the Hague to face a tribunal. Bashir, who refused to recognize the authority of the court when he was charged for crimes in the region in 2009, was ousted as president in April last year after months of nation wide protests.

On Tuesday, one of his lawyers told Reuters news agency that Bashir would continue to refuse to deal with the ICC, describing it as a “political court”. The surrender of former President Bashir is, in fact, something that Sudan’s top military general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan alluded to at a meeting in December with victims of the conflict.

The ICC issued two arrest warrants for Bashir, first in March 2009 and then in July 2010 and now considers him to be at large. Last December, he was sentenced to two years in a correctional facility after being found guilty of corruption and illegitimate possession of foreign currency and has since been held in a prison in Khartoum.  According to the courts website Bashir, who ruled Sudan for three decades, was the first sitting president to be wanted by the ICC, and the first person to be charged by the ICC for the crime of genocide.

There is no guarantee however that he will be handed over. The generals may renege on the deal.

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