In a major development, the ruling transitional government of Sudan and the rebel groups in Darfur have agreed on Tuesday that all those wanted by the International Criminal Court should appear before the tribunal, reported Reuters.
The decision was taken on Tuesday in South Sudan capital city, Juba, where the two sides are engaged in peace talks. Sudan’s transitional government has restarted talks with rebel groups as it has pledged to establish peace in conflict-hit regions, including Darfur.
“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,” said Mohamed Hassan al-Taishi, a civilian member of Sudan’s ruling sovereign council.
Taishi said that the Sudan government and the rebel groups have also agreed to create a Darfur special court to investigate and hear cases including those investigated by the ICC. He added that the joint committee tasked with drafting the tribunal’s provisions is expected to finish its work soon.
The announcement signals Sudan’s ousted dictator Omar al-Bashir will also face international justice. Although, Al-Taishi did not mention al-Bashir’s name directly, the former president is wanted by the ICC on alleged charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes for his role in the 2003 genocide in the Darfur region. An estimated 300,000 people were killed and around 2.7 million were forced to flee their homes.
Information Minister Faisal Saleh said the decision will be applied to all five Sudanese suspects wanted by the ICC over Darfur.
After the announcement was made on Tuesday, Al-Bashir’s lawyer said that the former president has refused to deal with the international tribunal as he denounced the institution as a “political court”. Bashir has said the allegations made by the ICC are part of a Western conspiracy.