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Sudan's PM: 'Anyone who committed atrocities must be tried'

Keith Walker
February 17, 2020

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok sat down with DW's Aya Ibrahim to discuss the country's transitional period, issues of inner peace and justice and how countries like Germany can help Sudan during this phase.

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdock with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin
Image: Getty Images/AFP/J. Macdougall

Sudan's Hamdok speaks with DW

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok termed the Sudan uprising as a "very rare moment of change" in the history of the northeastern African nation.

Speaking to DW at the Munich Security Conference, Hamdok stated that: "That momentous change created the environment for me and many others to come, to help build a new nation."

The prime minster talked about the unique cooperation in Sudan between civilians and the military: "We are proudly propagating this across the world and calling it the Sudanese model which is a partnership […] to build democracy."

He acknowledged that the partnership was not free from challenges, and that it was "working" in spite of them.

Hamdok told DW: "I think there is a determination on both sides to make it work and we are doing that precisely. If you look at the region around us, there are failures in many places, because I think they were not able to establish an accord that would allow such a partnership to move the country forward."

Read more: Sudan ex-leader Omar al-Bashir headed to International Criminal Court?

Justice for victims

Hamdok — whose country has embarked on a path to democratization — said justice would be served, "to the maximum satisfaction" of the victims, but stopped short of promising to deliver former President Omar al-Bashir to the International Crime Court (ICC).

Hamdok told DW's Aya Ibrahim there that there were a variety of ways justice for people in Sudan could be upheld and that the final decision would be announced as part of peace negotiations, which are currently in process.

"It could be an ICC in the Hague," Hamdok said. "It could be an ICC-compliant court in Sudan or in the region."

Bashir is accused of genocide and war crimes in the conflict that broke out in the Darfur region in 2003 and led to the death of 300,000 people.

Sudan's Hamdok speaks with DW

ICC hybrid court in Sudan?

The former president has been in jail in Khartoum since he was toppled by after mass protests last year. The decision to hand al-Bashir over to the ICC came at peace talks between Sudan's transitional government and Darfur rebels.

But there is no guarantee that he'll be sent to the ICC if Sudan's generals renege on their agreement. Any decision would need approval from military and civilian rulers, Sudan's information minister said on Monday.

"One possibility is that the ICC will come here so they will be appearing before the ICC in Khartoum, or there will be a hybrid court maybe, or maybe they are going to transfer them to The Hague ... That will be discussed with the ICC," Information Minister Faisal Salih told the Reuters news agency.

Al-Bashir's lawyer has said the ex-president refused any dealings with the ICC because it was a "political court."

Merkel pledges aid 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel meanwhile pledged German assistance to Sudan on Friday, following a meeting with Hamdok in Berlin. 

"Your country's fate lies close to our hearts," Merkel said, noting that Sudan faced huge challenges after three decades of dictatorship. "You need partners, and Germany would like to be such a partner." 

Rights for the marginalized

Hamdok's government in December announced a list of 10 priorities that include addressing the country's economic crisis, fighting corruption and ending multiple long-running conflicts around the country.

He also kept the demands made during the sit-ins and demonstrations which risked retaliation from al-Bashir's security forces firmly in mind, including those from the women who were often at the vanguard of the protests.

In November, the transitional government repealed the public-order laws imposed by al-Bashir's Islamist regime that controlled how women had to dress and act in public. 

Hamdok tweeted a tribute to those who had "endured the atrocities" of a law that was used as a "tool of exploitation, humiliation and violation of rights."

Read more: Sudan's revolution, a year later: Much achieved but risks remain

Tom Allinson contributed reporting.

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