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Sudan’s Ex-Ruler May Face War Crimes Trial, Official Says


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NAIROBI, Kenya — A member of Sudan’s ruling council raised expectations on Tuesday that the country’s long-ruling strongman, Omar al-Bashir, would be sent for trial on war crimes charges to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Mohammed Hassan Eltaish, a civilian member of Sudan’s ruling council, announced on Tuesday that the council had reached an agreement “to hand over those facing arrest from the International Criminal Court.”

But he did not name Mr. al-Bashir, or give any timeline for such an extradition. Previous pronouncements by Sudan’s new leaders have not yet shown results.

An official at the International Criminal Court said on Tuesday that the court had received no communication about a handover from Sudan’s government, and that there were no negotiations at the moment. The court made no public statement, and the official spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Sudan’s former president, Mr. al-Bashir ruled the country with an iron grip for three decades before he was ejected from power in April of last year by military officers after months of street demonstrations. He was put in prison, and a council of civilians and military officials took control of the government.

He has been wanted by the court since 2009 for atrocities in the restive western region of Darfur, where 300,000 people were killed and about 2.7 million displaced, beginning in 2003.

The council has been divided, analysts say, between its civilian and military wings. Some of the military officials on the council had been close allies of Mr. al-Bashir, and were involved in the repression in Darfur.

Representatives of the council have recently been in talks with rebel groups from Darfur on ending the long-running conflict in that region. Mr. Eltaish spoke after emerging from the talks in Juba, South Sudan.

“We cannot deliver justice until we use justice to heal the wounds,” Mr. Eltaish said. “We can definitely not escape the fact that there are crimes against humanity and war crimes committed against innocent people in Darfur and other regions.”

In December, Mr. al-Bashir was sentenced to two years in detention for corruption, possessing foreign currency and receiving illegal gifts. He has also been charged in relation to the deaths of protesters last year during the demonstrations that led to his ouster.

The government said in December that it will look into atrocities committed under Mr. al-Bashir in Darfur.

Abdi Latif Dahir reported from Nairobi, and Declan Walsh from Cairo. Marlise Simons contributed reporting from Maastricht, the Netherlands.

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