ICC prosecutor says Bashir and other suspects must face justice over Darfur

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: Sudan's ousted President Omar al-Bashir is seen inside the defendant's cage during his and some of his former allies trial over the 1989 military coup that brought the autocrat to power in 1989, at a courthouse in Khartoum

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Ousted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and other suspects wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes and genocide in Darfur must face justice without further delay, the court's chief prosecutor said on Tuesday.

Options for prosecuting them, including a trial in Sudan and a hybrid tribunal, were being discussed with Sudanese authorities, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told reporters during a visit to Khartoum.

"We are seeing what is possible," Bensouda said. "They must all face justice without further delay."

The ICC has outstanding arrest warrants against Bashir on charges of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, as well as against three other Sudanese suspects.

A fifth Sudanese suspect surrendered earlier this year.

The conflict in Darfur, in the west of Sudan, escalated from 2003 when mainly non-Arab rebels took up arms against Bashir's government, triggering a campaign of repression by the army and mostly-Arab militias. More than 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed and 2.5 million displaced.

Bashir has been in jail in Khartoum since he was forced from office in April 2019 following months of protests.

Bensouda said she was encouraged by meetings with senior officials from the transitional authorities who assumed power after his overthrow.

"I particularly welcomed the assurances of support and cooperation expressed to me by the authorities during this visit," she said.

Bashir appeared in a trial on Tuesday over the 1989 coup that brought him to power.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Aidan Lewis; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Rosalba O'Brien)