from RAJI BASHIR in Khartoum, Sudan
KHARTOUM, (CAJ News) – AS his trial on corruption charges began on Sunday, calls are mounting for the former Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, to face justice for alleged crimes under international law.
These include genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in Darfur while in power.
Al-Bashir, who was deposed from power four months ago following sustained protests against his 30-year rule, will be charged with possessing foreign currency, corruption and receiving gifts illegally.
In May, he was also charged with incitement and involvement in the killing of protesters.
Legal advocate, Joan Nyanyuki, pointed out that while this trial was a positive step towards accountability for some of his alleged crimes, he remains wanted for serious crimes allegedly committed against the Sudanese people.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued a warrant for his arrest to answer charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity but Sudan has insisted it would not hand him over.
Thousands of people were killed, maimed and tortured in Darfur.
“Omar al-Bashir has evaded justice for far too long as the victims of horrific crimes still wait for justice and reparations more than a decade since the ICC issued the first warrant for his arrest,” Nyanyuki said.
Nyanyuki said the country’s new leadership must urgently ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC, which the country signed in 2000.
Military leaders are edging closer to inking a long-awaited political agreement with the opposition coalition, to pave way for a new government.
– CAJ News