Spotlighting Darfur: ICC Prosecutor on Long-week Visit to Sudan

Published May 30th, 2021 - 09:49 GMT
ICC prosecutor starts 7-day visit to Sudan to meet Darfur victims
Ethiopian soldiers stand in the shade of a tree at the Um Gargour refugee camp in eastern Sudan where they have found interim sanctuary, on May 23, 2021. Peacekeepers formerly posted to Darfur and hailing from Ethiopia's conflict-hit Tigray region are requesting asylum in Sudan for fear of "torture" and "ethnic cleansing" back home, they have told AFP. Hussein ERY / AFP
ICC prosecutor kicks off a week visit to Sudan to meet Darfur victims

Fatou Bensouda Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, (ICC) arrived in Khartoum Saturday, on a week-long visit to Sudan including the Darfur region.

During her visit to Sudan, Bensouda will meet Sudanese government officials before travelling to Darfur where she will meet the affected communities, particularly the victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Last Monday, the outgoing prosecutor told the pre-trial court that the prosecution charges the militia leader Ali Kushayb with 31 counts of crimes of torture, rape, and murder of civilians committed in West Darfur between August 2003 and April 2004.

She revealed her visit to Darfur saying it aims to thank the victims and the other groups or individuals for their witnesses and support to the ICC investigations.

"I will be expressing this sincere sentiment when I visit Sudan, including Darfur next week in my last mission to the country as ICC Prosecutor," she stated.

In October 2020, Bensouda was in Khartoum seeking the transitional government’s cooperation to enable her office to carry out the needed investigation before Kushyab’s trial. Also, she discussed ways to hold accountable al-Bashir and his former aides indicted for war crimes in Darfur.

Meeting with Minnawi

Minni Minnawi the appointed Governor of the Darfur region met with the visiting ICC prosecutor and praised her endeavours to achieve justice in Darfur.

In press statements after the meeting, Minnawi hailed the attention that she has shown to the "victims of war and genocide" in Darfur. He further stressed the need to hand over to the ICC all the indicted criminals starting with the ousted President Omer al-Bashir and Ahmed Haroun.

"It is important that Haroun be handed over to the ICC because the crimes that Kushayb had committed are closely linked to Haroun," he stressed.

During the first years of the counterinsurgency campaign, Haroun was the state minister for the interior. He provided weapons and funds to the militia leaders on the grounds and supervised their action.

For her part, Bensouda reiterated she wants to take this opportunity to thank Darfurians and the leadership of Darfur for the resilience that they have demonstrated.

"Even though I’m going my team and my successor will continue with the same dedication and the same commitment that we have always exhibited towards this case," she added.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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