Sudan’s military has ruled out handing over toppled President Omar Al-Bashir to face charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The country’s armed forces said in a statement on Friday that it would “prosecute Bashir at home”.
The remarks come in the wake of calls from Human Rights Watch (HRW) to Sudan’s military leadership to arrest and hand over Al-Bashir for trail in Hague.
“Authorities should carry out the two International Criminal Court arrest warrants against al-Bashir for grave crimes in Darfur, as well as the warrant for Ahmed Haroun, acting head of the long-ruling National Congress Party, who is also wanted by the ICC for crimes in Darfur,” said the human rights body in a statement on Thursday night.
On 4 March 2009 and 12 July 2010, respectively, the ICC issued two arrest warrants against Omar Al Bashir for five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape), two counts of war crimes (intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking part in hostilities, and pillaging), and three counts of genocide allegedly committed against the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups in Darfur, Sudan, from 2003 to 2008.
African leaders have since refused to comply with requests from ICC to arrest and hand over Bashir.
He, however, eluded arrest in South Africa.
Bashir’s reign was on Thursday brought down by protests which had taken place in major Sudanese cities since December 2018, both in response to Sudan’s declining economy and for an end to al-Bashir’s rule.
Sudanese security forces cracked down violently on those protests, killing scores of protesters and rounding up hundreds, possibly thousands, for arrest and detention.