Sudan's premier backs demands for justice as ICC prosecutor visits

Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda (C), poses with Sudanese officials during her visit to the ministry of justice in Khartoum on October 18, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 18 October 2020

Sudan's premier backs demands for justice as ICC prosecutor visits

  • The ICC issued arrest warrants against Bashir in 2009 and 2010 on charges of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity
  • The delegation, led by Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, arrived in Sudan late on Saturday to discuss the cases

KHARTOUM: Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said on Sunday his government was committed to achieving justice as an International Criminal Court (ICC) delegation visited for the first time since the overthrow of ex-leader Omar Al-Bashir.
The ICC issued arrest warrants against Bashir in 2009 and 2010 on charges of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity during his campaign to crush a revolt in Darfur in which an estimated 300,000 people died.
The delegation, led by Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, arrived in Sudan late on Saturday to discuss the cases of Bashir and two other former officials wanted by ICC.
Bensouda also met the powerful deputy leader of Sudan's ruling council, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who said the government was willing to cooperate with the court, state news agency SUNA reported.
Though Sudanese transitional authorities have said they will work with the ICC for those accused of war crimes to appear before the tribunal, it is unclear where and how hearings would take place.
Bashir and the two other former officials, Ahmed Haroun and Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein, were jailed after the uprising that led to Bashir's overthrow in April last year.
"Sudan's commitment to achieving justice is not only part of international obligations, but also comes in response to popular demands to establish justice," a cabinet statement cited Hamdok as saying as he met the ICC delegation.
Bashir has already been sentenced to two years in prison on corruption charges and is currently on trial over the military coup in which he took power in 1989.
His lawyer has denounced the various charges against the former president as politically motivated.
Hamdok's civilian government is working under a military-civilian ruling council during a three-year transition that is meant to lead to elections.


Iran shuts government offices, tightening virus restrictions

Updated 27 November 2020

Iran shuts government offices, tightening virus restrictions

  • The report did not specify how long the closures would last
  • It asked Iranians to postpone any planned visits to government offices

TEHRAN: Iran on Friday announced that all government offices will effectively close and operate with only essential staff, further tightening coronavirus measures as the country struggles to contain its most widespread wave of infection yet.
Starting this Saturday — the first day of Iran’s workweek — state TV said “only those employees who need to be present will be at work” in government offices. Managers will make the call on who must still come to work.
The report did not specify how long the closures would last, but asked Iranians to postpone any planned visits to government offices.
Infections have soared in recent months, and on Friday, Iran again set a record for new virus cases in a single day with 14,051 cases, bringing the total to 922,397.
Iran has also recorded more than 400 daily virus deaths since last Saturday, the same day new tightened restrictions went into effect. Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said the death toll on Friday reached 47,095, after 406 people died since Thursday.
Since Saturday, some government offices and organizations had closed or began working with less than 30% of their employees, while banks, post offices, communications and other utilities worked with half their staff.
Those new lockdown measures also included shuttering most businesses, shops, malls, and restaurants, and are set to last two weeks.
Iran’s government had recently resisted shutting down the country in an attempt to salvage an economy cratered by unprecedented American sanctions, which effectively bar Iran from selling its oil internationally. The Trump administration reimposed sanctions in 2018 after withdrawing from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
Earlier this month, authorities ordered a month-long nightly curfew for businesses in Tehran and 30 other major cities and towns, asking nonessential shops to keep their workers home. Still, enforcement in the sprawling metropolis remains a challenge.