Sudan : Transitional Cabinet Endorses ICC Membership
The draft bill will be voted into law during a meeting with the Governing Sovereign Council.
The ruling Transitional Cabinet in Sudan has unanimously approved a draft bill that would pave the way for it to join the International Criminal Court (ICC). The information was made public late Tuesday, August 3, 2021 by Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok via twitter. The draft has been approved in preparation for a joint meeting between the Governing Sovereign Council and the Transitional Cabinet. Since Sudan is yet to appoint a legislative body, but the decision needs to get the approval of the Governing Sovereign Council, a joint military-civilian body that is the country’s highest authority and is tasked with leading the country to free and fair multiparty presidential and legislative elections.
The development moves Sudan closer to handing over to the ICC suspects wanted for war crimes and genocide in the western Darfur region, “Justice and accountability are a solid foundation of the new rule of law that Sudan is striving to build,” Hamdok said but gave no further details as to what joining the ICC might mean in terms of putting al-Bashir and other Sudanese wanted by the court on trial, either in Sudan or in The Hague.
The unanimous decision by the Cabinet comes as a surprise development as Sudan is known for gross human rights abuses especially during the time of former President Omar al-Bashir. Bashir is a former military officer, politician, and war criminal who served as the seventh Head of State of Sudan from 1989 before he was deposed in a coup d'état in 2019 after a nationwide strike that left many people dead. He is wanted by the ICC to face trial on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection to the Darfur conflict.
In May, former ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda visited Darfur and pressed Sudanese officials to hand over al-Bashir and other wanted leaders, this was followed by the confirmation of charges hearing in the case of Ali Kushayb, who is accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur between 2003 and 2004. Before the ratification, Sudan has been in talks with the ICC about options for trying al-Bashir and his former aides, but the only obstacle was that Sudan was not party to the Rome Statute.