Interim Government Signs New MoU With ICC
On July 12, International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Mr. Karim Khan during his visit in Khartoum, has announced that the interim government of Sudan signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the ICC which includes the implementation of pending arrest warrants of all of the ICC indictees. This upcoming week, the Council of Ministers and the Sovereign Council will meet to discuss the draft law to ratify the Rome Statute. While neither the interim government nor the ICC has confirmed a date for the extradition of the indictees currently imprisoned in Sudan, this development ensures that the trials of al Bashir, Harun, and Hussein are inevitable. Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) welcomes this promising step towards international justice for Darfur. These agreements must be followed up with swift action in congruence with the terms of the Rome Statute. As stated by Prosecutor Khan, “After almost 17 years since the referral of this situation, the Government of Sudan and the ICC owe to the victims of atrocity crimes in Darfur justice without further delay.”
Prosecutor Khan further announced that the ICC will open an independent, full-time office in Khartoum after Sudan joins the Court to investigate cases and gather evidence for imminent trials of Ali Kushayb, al Bashir, Hussein, and Harun. The office will work cooperatively with the interim government to facilitate evidence collection and the transfer of al Bashir, Hussein, and Harun. The Spokesperson for the United States Department of State, Ned Price, called specifically for the necessity of joint action between the Prime Minister Hamdok’s Council of Ministers and the Sovereign Council on the transfer of al Bashir to the ICC. General Hemeti, member of the Sovereign Council and leader of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), has publicly expressed his support for Sudan’s cooperation with the ICC. While there is cause for optimism, we must keep in mind that General Hemeti’s RSF was one of the most deadly weapons in al Bashir’s arsenal against the people of Darfur. The RSF continues to be implicated in hundreds of civilian murders and attacks on displaced people in Darfur. Al Bashir’s transfer may reveal incriminating evidence against the general or other members of the Sovereign Council. DWAG strongly cautions the ICC, international and regional actors against taking for granted the recent developments as a leap of faith for compliance with demands for justice. They must not cease applying pressure on the interim government to fulfill the terms of the Rome Statute and uphold their promises of justice to the people of Darfur and Sudan at large
While all these positive developments are taking place in Khartoum, violence and more displacement continues across Darfur. It’s imperative that the interim government takes every effort to ensure that security and stability are equally prioritized. It is particularly important to create an enabling environment where victims can be protected from retribution and grant full access to participate in all the ICC proceedings.
DWAG appreciates the steadfast continuation of Prosecutor Bensouda’s fight for Darfur by Prosecutor Khan. We urge him to relentlessly pursue accountability for the heinous crimes in Darfur in current and potential future indictees. Impunity of perpetrators currently in government must not be tolerated any longer.
We are pleased to finally see our fights take effect in shaping the future of Sudan, however this is not to be considered a cause for celebration. We must continue to speak up and put pressure on leaders in Khartoum and internationally until the promise of accountability, protection, and peace are fully realized. DWAG would like to thank our supporters for never ceasing to speak up in solidarity with the people of Darfur. We ask you to share this statement with your social media networks to amplify our voices in demanding that the interim government must take swift action to match this promising development. Together, we must hold the interim government to the progress made on this day.