Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has announced that the country is ready to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) so those accused of war crimes in Darfur appear before the tribunal, a list that includes deposed President Omar al-Bashir.
Al-Bashir, who has been in jail in Khartoum since he was toppled after mass protests last year, is wanted by the ICC for alleged war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur in a conflict that killed an estimated 300,000 people beginning in 2003.
The government reached a deal with rebel groups in February that all five Sudanese ICC suspects should appear before the court, but Hamdok had not previously publicly affirmed Sudan’s position.
“I reiterate that the government is fully prepared to cooperate with the ICC to facilitate access to those accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Hamdok said in a televised address on the anniversary of his ascent to office on Saturday.
Al-Bashir has denied the allegations against him, and had escaped previous attempts to send him to The Hague tribunal.
Sudan’s transitional government, a three-year joint civilian-military arrangement led by Hamdok, said it is close to a peace deal with some rebel groups active in Darfur, a vast region roughly the size of France
The government and some of the rebels are expected to initial an agreement on August 28.
Hamdok also said during his TV address that Sudan had come a long way towards being removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.
There are intense communications with the American administration about removing Sudan from the list and significant progress is expected in the coming weeks, a senior government source told Reuters on Sunday.
Washington added Sudan to the list in 1993 over allegations that al-Bashir’s government was supporting “terrorist groups” at the time.
The designation makes Sudan technically ineligible for debt relief and financing from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. The US Congress would need to approve Sudan’s removal from the list.