Monday, 01 June, 2020

For 1st time, Sudan's Bashir stands trial for corruption

Omar Hassan al-Bashir Omar Hassan al-Bashir
Deanna Wagner | 21 August, 2019, 21:37

Sudan's deposed military ruler Omar al-Bashir has admitted to receiving $90 million in cash from Saudi royals, an investigator told a Khartoum court on Monday.

Sudanese protesters who oppose the military council that has presided over the country since April are wary that a trial in today's Sudan, where many powerful figures from Bashir's regime still hold sway, will not give a fair trial to the former president.

Al-Bashir arrived at the court in Arkaweet neighbourhood in central Khartoum amid tight security measures.

Bashir faces charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide at the ICC for his role in the war in Darfur, where a rebellion erupted in 2003.

The charges against al-Bashir are partly related to millions of USA dollars, euros and Sudanese pounds found in cash in his home a week after his ouster in April.

Bashir weathered multiple rebellions, economic crises, US sanctions and coup attempts until he was overthrown by the military in April after mass protests against his 30-year rule.

In Might, Sudan's prosecutor basic additionally stated Bashir had been charged over killings throughout the anti-regime protests which finally led to his ouster.

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The Hague-based ICC has for years demanded that Bashir stand trial, and has renewed its call since his fall.

It was the sudden tripling of bread prices in December that sparked the mushrooming protests which led to the toppling of Bashir by the army in April.

According to the power-sharing deal, the opposition coalition is allowed to choose five members and the military another five, with the two sides jointly choosing a civilian as an 11th member.

The pact sets up a sovereign council as the highest authority in the country, but largely delegates executive powers to the cabinet of ministers. But the spokesman for the Transitional Military Council, Lieutenant General Shams El Din Kabbashi, said the formation of the new ruling body would be delayed by 48 hours on the request of the opposition coalition.

According to the agreement, the country's prime minister will be appointed with the approval of the council on August 20, and will be sworn in in front of the council and head of the Supreme Court on August 21.

The transition's key paperwork had been signed on Saturday at a ceremony attended by a number of global dignitaries, signalling that Sudan might be on its solution to shedding the pariah standing the Darfur atrocities and Bashir's worldwide arrest warrant had conferred on it. A transitional constitution meant to guide Sudan towards civilian rule was officially signed on Saturday.

The omnipresence in the transition of General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo - a paramilitary commander who was one of the signatories of the documents on Saturday - is one of the main causes of unease.