The ICC Inches Closer to Bashir Prosecution as Sudan and Israel Normalize Relations

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda meeting with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok (Photo via Abdalla Hamdok Twitter Account)

The Middle East watched with interest when it was announced that Sudanese authorities were planning to “hand over” Omar Al Bashir, the ousted president, to the International Criminal Court.

It has been more than 10 years since the ICC issued the first of two warrants for Al Bashir. Despite outstanding obligations on states to co-operate with the Court and surrender Al Bashir to The Hague, he travelled widely, including to member-states of the ICC. Justice for Darfur was neglected. States such as South Africa hosted Al Bashir and threatened to pull out of the ICC when the Court admonished their invitations. European nations worked closely with the regime in Khartoum to stanch immigration from Africa. Powerful actors, including members of the UN Security Council that had referred Darfur to the ICC in the first place, went silent on justice for Al Bashir.

The biggest advantage of a domestic trial is that it would be most accessible to victims and survivors of Al Bashir’s crimes

But then Al Bashir fell from grace in the eyes of his countrymen and women. The Sudanese – though notably not the international community – had enough of him. Many citizens have since pushed for the former leader to be punished for his involvement in atrocities. They might just get their wish.

Now, the question is not “will Al Bashir be brought to justice”, but where and how. According to Sudan’s justice minister, the country is considering numerous options: “One possibility is that the ICC will come here so they will be appearing before the ICC in Khartoum, or there will be a hybrid court maybe, or maybe they are going to transfer them to The Hague. That will be discussed with the ICC.”

When Sudan announced that Al Bashir would be tried by the ICC, many initially assumed that the former president would be prosecuted in The Hague. This would be a remarkable U-turn for a state that has historically been among the most ardent antagonists of the Court.

For more, see the full article, originally published at The National, here.

About Mark Kersten

Mark Kersten is a consultant at the Wayamo Foundation, a Senior Researcher at the Munk School of Global Affairs, and a law student at McGill University Law School. He is also author of the book, 'Justice in Conflict - The Effects of the International Criminal Court's Interventions on Ending Wars and Building Peace' (Oxford University Press, 2016).
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2 Responses to The ICC Inches Closer to Bashir Prosecution as Sudan and Israel Normalize Relations

  1. El roam says:

    Important issue. But, and with all due respect, one may argue the contrary. For, the deal was the following:

    Sudan, would be removed from the list of state supporting terror, and economic aid ( all sorts) would be granted to Sudan, all, for normalizing ties with Israel. I quote (relevant part) from:

    “Joint Statement of the United States, the Republic of Sudan, and the State of Israel”


    “In light of this historic progress, and following President Trump’s decision to remove Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, the United States and Israel agreed to partner with Sudan in its new start and ensure that it is fully integrated into the international community. The United States will take steps to restore Sudan’s sovereign immunity and to engage its international partners to reduce Sudan’s debt burdens, including advancing discussions on debt forgiveness consistent with the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. The United States and Israel also committed to working with their partners to support the people of Sudan in strengthening their democracy, improving food security, countering terrorism and extremism, and tapping into their economic potential.”


    As such, assuming of course, that the US, and the Israeli state, would want to put as much pressure on the court and the prosecutor, they have the Sudanese government in their hand. The Sudanese government, now depends heavily on the US and Israel.

    Not that simple as an apple.


  2. El roam says:

    So, as punch line:

    The US, and Israel, having more leverage on the prosecutor, in relation to the investigations against them. Now, the Sudanese government, is in their hand one may argue. So, if already(all this is relevant) if she wants Bashir, she needs to take to account now, the US, and Israel.


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