Fatou Bensouda, International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor, has called on the members of the UNSC to pressure the transition government of Sudan to hand over suspects of western Darfur genocide committed between the period of 2003 to 2019 when former President Omar al-Bashir was deposed.
Addressing the UN security meeting on Wednesday in her last briefing in that capacity, as her mandate comes to an end on June 15, she called on the body to focus on providing justice to the victims of Sudanese genocide.
She said hundreds of families have been crying to see that those accused of genocide in western Darfur who are currently under the custody of the Sudanese transition government are sent to the ICC for prosecution since they do not effectively trust that Sudan can provide a fair hearing to the arrested suspects.
Bensouda said she had reminded the transitional government of Sudan last week of their responsibility in respecting international conventions, which now requires that former President Omar al-Bashir, former defense minister Abdel Raheem Hussein, and former interior minister and governor Ahmad Harun be transferred to ICC for prosecution.
“Sudan is under a legal obligation to surrender the suspects,” she said, lamenting that the transitional government has yet to hand over ousted former President Omar al-Bashir, who is a key suspect, and his collaborator arrested by the transitional government in 2019. She said numerous efforts had been put in place by the ICC to get these suspects extradited.
According to Bensouda, more than 300,000 people were killed, and 2.7 million were displaced between 2003-2015 under former President Omar al-Bashir, who carried out a scorched-earth policy and ordered aerial bombings.
She concluded that it would be in the best interest of the Sudanese government to cooperate and hand over the suspects fully.
President Omar al-Bashir was ousted in 2019 following popular protests backed by the military. He was forced to resign but stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.