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ICC chief prosecutor arrives in Sudan

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor Karim Khan has arrived in Sudan, state media reported in the country still wracked by unrest since the 2019 ouster of its leader accused of genocide.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague | File photo: Reuters

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Karim Khan has arrived in Sudan, state media reported in the country still wracked by unrest since the 2019 ouster of its leader accused of genocide.

“The ICC prosecutor and a court delegation will hold a number of meetings with senior officials and he will be visiting the Darfur region,” the state news agency SUNA said late Saturday.

Khan’s visit will continue until August 25, SUNA said, a year after he visited the country for talks on outstanding arrest warrants over crimes committed during the 2003 Darfur war under ousted president Omar al-Bashir.

His visit this year is the third by an ICC prosecutor to Sudan since Bashir’s ouster in April 2019.

Khan’s predecessor, Fatou Bensouda, held talks in Sudan in May 2021, bringing the strife-hit country’s former leaders one step closer to being tried at The Hague for war crimes.

Sudan has been reeling from deepening unrest, spiralling economic crisis, and a spike in ethnic clashes, including in Darfur, since a military coup last year led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

The October military coup upended a fragile transition put in place following the ouster of Bashir, who was deposed following months of protests.

Bashir remains wanted by the ICC over his role in the 2003 Darfur conflict, which pitted ethnic African minority rebels complaining of discrimination against his Arab-dominated government.

Khartoum then responded by unleashing the notorious Janjaweed militia, recruited from among the region’s mainly Arab nomadic peoples.

Human rights groups have long accused Bashir and his former aides of using a scorched earth policy, raping, killing, looting and burning villages.

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

In 2020, Sudan signed a peace deal with key rebel groups, including in Darfur, that was hoped to end the conflict in the far-flung region.

Several ex-rebel leaders have since taken top positions in government.

Since his ouster, Bashir has been held in Khartoum’s Kober prison along with several of his former aides who are also wanted by the ICC. He faces charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In April, senior Janjaweed militia leader Ali Muhammad Ali Abd al-Rahman, also known by the nom de guerre Ali Kushayb, faced the ICC in its first trial for war crimes in Darfur.

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