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ICC prosecutor urges Sudan to hand over Haroun

By AFP - Jun 02,2021 - Last updated at Jun 02,2021

KHARTOUM — The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) chief prosecutor pressed Sudan on Wednesday to hand over Ahmed Haroun, accused of war crimes in Darfur, to face trial alongside a fellow ex-regime figure.

Fatou Bensouda made the call during a press conference in Khartoum after concluding a landmark visit to Darfur, the first by an ICC prosecutor since the UN tasked the court to probe the conflict there 16 years ago.

The United Nations says 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million were displaced in the conflict.

Haroun is one of several former regime heavyweights charged by the ICC in connection with Darfur, including ex-president Omar Al Bashir, who is indicted for crimes including genocide, and Ali Muhammad Ali Abd Al Rahman, leader of the notorious Janjaweed militia.

Abd Al Rahman, also known as Ali Kushayb, was charged in 2007, the same year as Haroun. He handed himself in last year after years on the run and appeared in court in The Hague last month.

“Just last week, we finished the confirmation of charges” against Ali Kushayb, Bensouda told reporters on Wednesday.

“And these charges were against both himself and Ahmed Haroun,” she added. “So the ideal situation is that they are tried together.”

Fighting broke out in Darfur in 2003 when African minority rebels, complaining of systematic discrimination, took up arms against Bashir’s Arab-dominated regime.

Khartoum responded by unleashing the Janjaweed, recruited from among the region’s nomadic tribes.

Haroun’s arrest warrant lists 22 counts of alleged war crimes and 20 counts of alleged crimes against humanity.

He held several top government positions under Bashir, who was toppled by the army amid enormous protests against his iron-fisted rule in April 2019.

 

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