Kriti Agrawal –
Fatou Bensouda informed the United Nation Security Council for the final time as the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s prosecutor, lamenting that the tribunal had failed to bring justice to victims of atrocities in Sudan’s western Darfur region.
She however, said that a new era in Sudan, as well as the transfer of the first Darfur suspect to Court, should offer them optimism.
According to Bensouda, the Darfur victims she spoke with last week had one message, Sudan’s transitional government should hand over three suspects former President Omar al-Bashir, who is accused of genocide, former Defense Minister Abdel Raheem Hussein, and former Interior Minister and Governor Ahmad Harun sought by the Court who are currently in its custody.
Bensouda, said she has been focused on Darfur since the Security Council referred crimes committed there to the Court in 2005, when she was deputy prosecutor.
Her latest trip to Sudan and Darfur, on the other hand, was a first, a memorable tour that she described as a forceful reminder that we should focus on securing justice for the victims and creating permanent peace for the people of Darfur.
Nonetheless, she stated that despite years of animosity and lack of cooperation, the ICC and the government of Sudan have turned a new page in their relationship, engaging in constructive dialogue and a good spirit of cooperation.
In 2003, rebels from the territory’s ethnic central and sub-Saharan African community launched an uprising, accusing the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum of discrimination and neglect.
At discussions with Sudanese government leaders, including the president of the Sovereignty Council, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, Bensouda claimed she encouraged the transfer of al-Bashir and the others.
Bensouda stated that Harun’s relocation is necessary so that he might stand trial alongside Sudanese militia leader Ali Kushayb, who willingly surrendered to the Court in The Hague, Netherlands, a year ago. She urged the Security Council to “Persuade Sudan to immediately honor Mr. Harun’s wish and expedite his transfer to the International Criminal Court (ICC) without delay.”