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Sudan PM clears way for Omar al-Bashir to be sent to ICC

Abdalla Hamdok says Sudan ready to cooperate with the International Criminal Court, so that those accused of war crimes in Darfur can face justice
Sudan's deposed president Omar al-Bashir arriving for trial in Khartoum on 21 July 2020 (AFP)

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said on Saturday that the country was ready to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC), so that those accused of war crimes in Darfur could appear before the tribunal - a list that includes former president Omar al-Bashir, who was deposed in early 2019.

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Bashir, currently on trial in Khartoum over the 1989 military coup that propelled him to power, is wanted by the ICC for alleged war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity during the conflict in Darfur, the region in western Sudan where an estimated 300,000 people were killed from 2003 onwards. 

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The Khartoum government had reached a deal with rebel groups in February that all five Sudanese ICC suspects should appear before the court, but Saturday marked the first time that Hamdok had publicly affirmed Sudan's position.

"I reiterate that the government is fully prepared to cooperate with the ICC to facilitate access to those accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity," Hamdok said in a televised address, on the anniversary of his ascent to office.

Sudan's transitional government, a three-year joint civilian-military arrangement led by Hamdok, said it was close to a peace deal with some rebel groups active in Darfur.

The government and some of the rebels are expected to initial an agreement on 28 August.

Removal from US list of state sponsors of terrorism

Hamdok also said during his address that Sudan had come a long way towards being removed from the United States' list of state sponsors of terrorism.

There have been intense communications with the US administration about getting Sudan removed from the list and significant progress was expected in the coming weeks, a senior government source added.

Washington added Sudan to the list in 1993, over allegations that Bashir's Islamist government was supporting terrorist groups.

The designation made Sudan technically ineligible for debt relief and financing from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Sudan's removal from the list would ultimately need the approval of US Congress.

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