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Al-Bashir exit: ICC closely watching developments in Sudan

The ICC is watching developments in Sudan with keen interest and what will happen to al Bashir after he steps down.

FILE: Sudanese men chant slogans as a soldier imitates President Omar al-Bashir waving his trademark cane, on 11 April 2019 during a rally in the capital Khartoum. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG – Sudan’s longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir is likely to negotiate an exit to ensure he doesn’t end up at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

There’s been no official word on al-Bashir's exit following reports by state media in that country of an imminent announcement by the army.

In the meantime, troops have been deployed to the streets where crowds have gathered including in the capital Khartoum.

The ICC is watching developments in Sudan with keen interest and what will happen to al Bashir after he steps down.

The Hague-based tribunal issued a warrant for al-Bashir’s arrest in 2009 for crimes against humanity committed during the country’s five-year conflict from 2003 to 2008.

Among the failed attempts to apprehend him was when he attended the African Union summit in South Africa in 2015 after which the Pretoria High Court and the ICC found that the country had failed to honour its obligations under international law.

“The difficulty that South Africa had at the time was the fact that whatever action it took it was going to be against a certain government,” said Andrews Atta-Asamoah from the Institute for Security Studies is in Addis Ababa.

Atta-Asamoah said al Bashir’s exit may expose him for prosecution.

“Once he exits power then he becomes bare of the protection he had as the commander in chief of his army,” he said.

Al-Bashir’s exit would also have implications for relations within the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in East Africa.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)