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ICC to set up office in Sudan to gather evidence on Bashir

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By MAWAHIB ABDALLATIF

The International Criminal Court is set to establish an office in Khartoum to follow on a case in which former President Omar al-Bashir and other former senior officials are accused of crimes against humanity.

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan said he had asked Sudanese authorities to allow him to see all the evidence, and said he will open an office in Khartoum to devote himself “to collecting evidence with my colleagues in the judicial authorities in Sudan in order to bring justice to the victims and achieve justice.”

Mr Khan toured Khartoum Wednesday as he sought to gather evidence on the case.

He, however, said no specific date has been set for the extradition of al-Bashir and the other wanted people.

Al-Bashir is serving two years in jail for corrupt dealings during his time as leader of Sudan between 1989 and April 2019.

The ICC has since 2007 wanted him to face charges of crimes against humanity at The Hague, accusing him of overseeing war in Darfur where 300,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands others maimed or displaced.

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Khan told reporters in Khartoum that he had discussed the issue with Sudanese officials but offered no timelines to have him delivered to the Court.

Khan toured Khartoum this week, a few days after Sudan’s Council of Ministers formally approved the country’s application to join the Court. The final decision on whether to actually join the ICC will involve the Transitional Sovereign Council, although it looks likely that the Council will endorse the move.

Khan signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Sudanese government regarding the extradition of the wanted persons against whom the court issued arrest warrants of arrest years ago.

They include al-Bashir and his Minister of Defence Abdel Rahim Muhammad Hussein and Ahmed Haroun, along with rebel leader Abdullah Banda.

Khan argues that the extradition of suspects is an important step, but it should be preceded and “accompanied by objective cooperation that should be constantly strengthened.”

Mr Khan said he expects that next week’s meeting of the Sovereign Council and the Ministers in Sudan would resolve the issue of ratifying the Rome Statute, and that the meeting would represent an opportunity for the transitional government to fulfil its obligations of full cooperation with the Court and with the Office of the Prosecutor.

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