A member of Sudan’s governing military council said on Monday the country’s next civilian government would decide whether to hand veteran president Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Bashir was first indicted by the Hague-based ICC in 2009 on war crimes charges over a long-running conflict in Darfur in western Sudan, but has escaped arrest.
Bashir’s 30 years in power ended last week when the military ousted him after months-long protests that left dozens of demonstrators dead in clashes with security forces.
“The decision whether to extradite [Bashir] to ICC will be made by a popularly elected government and not the transitional military council,” military council member Jalaluddin Sheikh told journalists during a visit to the Ethiopian capital.
The council has pledged a two-year transition period and also said it would not send Bashir or any other Sudanese citizen to the ICC.
The ICC charges against Bashir, which include a genocide allegation added in 2010, stem from a rebellion launched in Darfur in 2003.
His government’s decision to unleash the armed forces and allied militia against the rebels brought him further international criticism.
The UN says more than 300,000 people have been killed in the Darfur conflict, and more than two million displaced.
Bashir was the first sitting president of a country to be wanted by the ICC, and the first person to be charged with genocide.
Without a police force, the ICC relies on member states to carry out arrest warrants against suspects.
Despite two warrants against Bashir, he continued to travel with impunity to various countries in Africa and the rest of the world.
This included to ICC member states South Africa and Jordan, which under the court’s founding Rome Statute had an obligation to arrest him.
In the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Monday, thousands of demonstrators remained camped outside the army headquarters, calling for a return to civilian government.