Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) is gravely concern about the freedom and the impunity enabled for former Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad Bashir. In a recent dignitary press conference, Bashir has admitted that he bore responsibility for the June 30, 1989 coup that brought him into power, speaking at a trial in which he is being charged with leading a military coup. His admission and his denial of the Islamist regime responsibility shows lack of credibility and accountability.

During his plea, he stated that no member of the Revolutionary Command Council had any role during the coup and that he was “proud” to have been “the leader of the national salvation revolution”. Bashir also said that civilians who took official positions after he and other officers toppled the government in 1989 were brought in to help Sudan during a difficult period but had not planned or carried out the coup. Some defendants who were senior officials under Bashir have denied responsibility and involvement in the coup in the ongoing trial. However, Bashir’s statement contradicts the account of the late Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi and several other Islamist leading figures who admitted that the coup was planned and carried out by the National Islamic Front (NIF).

This comes after Bashir being thrown out of power in 2019. He was convicted of corruption and was sentenced to serve in prison for two years in Sudan. He also faces prosecution over the killing of protesters. In addition, Bashir has been wanted by the ICC in The Hague for over 12 years on over 5 counts of crimes against humanity: murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture, and rape; 2 counts of war crimes: intentionally directing attacks towards civilians and pillaging; 3 counts of genocide: by killing, by causing serious bodily harm, and deliberately targeting to bring upon the group’s physical destruction during 2003-2008 in Darfur. Despite him being charged over 12 years ago, his trial still remains at the pre-trial stage due to him still being at-large. In February 2020, Sudanese authorities agreed that they would hand over Bashir to the Hague-based ICC to face his trial but did not give a proper time frame to when that would happen. 

DWAG demands that everyone involved in the 1989 coup must be held accountable for their crimes, as nobody can carry out a coup by themselves. In addition, we ask the public to stand in solidarity with Darfur and to urge the international community to put more pressure on Sudan to release the custody of Omar al-Bashir to the ICC for his perpetration of the heinous crimes in Darfur. We must continue to make our voice louder and demand accountability. With our collective effort, we can make a difference and end the suffering across Sudan.