Sudanese state sources say that there are escalating disputes between the government’s civilian and military partners in Sudan regarding the handover of former President Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
The Sudanese cabinet had agreed in early August to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Later, Sudanese Foreign Minister Maryam Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi announced that the Council of Ministers had decided to hand over Al-Bashir and two of his aides wanted in the Darfur file to the International Criminal Court, stressing her country’s keenness to “achieve justice for the victims.”
But Sudan’s final ratification of the Rome Law requires the approval of the Interim Legislative Council, represented in a joint meeting of the Sovereignty Council and the Ministers, before it enters into force, according to the constitutional document that governs the transitional period in the country.
Government sources said that there are calls to try al-Bashir and his aides internally in a hybrid court (the Sudanese and International Judicial Consortium), in “full cooperation with the International Criminal Court.”
According to those sources, the military side has reservations about the process of handing over Al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, considering that he “earlier represented the military establishment and the Sudanese armed forces.”
The sources indicated that a joint committee was formed between the Sovereignty Council and the Council of Ministers to discuss the issue, including military and civilians, and it was “agreed to review some laws”, during a meeting held on Sunday at the presidential palace.
The Sudanese military expert Amin Ismail Majzoub considered that the ousted president’s association and affiliation with the military institution as a former commander of the Sudanese armed forces “make the issue of his extradition sensitive because it is considered a condemnation of the Sudanese army.”
Majzoub added that “there is a desire among some influential people in the transitional government not to extradite al-Bashir,” noting that “they fear that the matter will apply to them if they are convicted of abuses during the transitional period or earlier periods, such as the Darfur issue.”
The military expert expected that the wanted persons would be tried internally in a hybrid court to “remove the embarrassment of the transitional government” and said that Sudan “has a reliable judicial system.”
Al-Bashir is currently in Kober Prison in the Sudanese capital. He was arrested after his dismissal in April 2019 after widespread popular protests against him.
In 2009, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir, whom it accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the armed conflict in Darfur that erupted in 2003 and in which more than 300,000 people died.