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Sudan: Ex-president Bashir must be tried by ICC for war crimes, Uganda warned on offering him asylum

Former Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir stresses a point as Uganda President Museveni looks on recently. (PPU Photo)

KHARTOUM – Amnesty International has Wednesday, April 17 cautioned countries against sabotaging justice for victims of the war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide that former Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir is accused of by offering him asylum.

This comes just a day after Uganda’s government indicated that it is willing to offer asylum to Mr. al-Bashir, whose whereabouts are currently unclear.

Sudan’s military council which took over government last Thursday said Mr. Bashir was in ‘safe custody, but the latter has not made a public appearance since then.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued two arrest warrants for Mr. Al-Bashir on the basis that there are reasonable grounds to believe that, along with war crimes and crimes against humanity including murder, extermination, and rape, he has committed genocide against the Fur, Massalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups.

“More than a decade after the first arrest warrant was issued against him in 2009, the time has come for Al-Bashir to face justice at the ICC,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

Amnesty International says that the authorities in Sudan must ensure that Mr. Al-Bashir, along with all other people arrested and detained since the military coup, are protected from torture and other ill-treatment that have been typical of imprisonment in Sudan.

Also, responding to claims that former Mr. Al-Bashir is being detained in Kober prison in Khartoum, Ms. Nyanyuki, said:

“Omar Al-Bashir stands accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide, and must be immediately handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for due process to be followed. His case must not be hurriedly tried in Sudan’s notoriously dysfunctional legal system. Justice must be served.

“An ICC trial is not only vital for the victims of the atrocious crimes that led to his indictment but must constitute a first step in ensuring justice and accountability in the country. Sudan must take urgent steps to rebuild its justice sector but, in the meantime, the only way victims of his alleged crimes will see progress towards justice are if Bashir faces a fair trial at the ICC”.

Kampala regime insists Mr. Bashir deserves credit for the role he played in securing the latest South Sudan peace deal.

“President Omar Bashir was co-guarantor for the peace agreement of South Sudan, he has played a very critical role (for)which we are very grateful and his asylum in Uganda is something we can consider,” said Okello Oryem, state minister for foreign affairs.

President Yoweri Museveni has previously described the ICC as ‘a bunch of useless people’.

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