Ousted Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir goes on trial, charged with killing protesters
London, May 14, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Sudanese prosecutors have charged ousted President Omar al-Bashir with involvement in killing protesters and incitement to kill protesters during the uprising that drove him from power last month, state news agency SUNA reported Monday.
It was not immediately clear what punishment he might face. Protest organizers say security forces killed around 100 demonstrators during the four months of rallies leading to al-Bashir’s overthrow.
The transitional military council ruling Sudan has said al-Bashir will face justice inside the country and will not be extradited to the Hague, where the International Criminal Court has charged him with war crimes and genocide linked to the Darfur conflict in the 2000s.
Al-Bashir, who was the only sitting head of state to be subject to an international arrest warrant, was imprisoned in the capital, Khartoum, days after the military removed him from power.
The military ousted al-Bashir on April 11, but the demonstrators have remained in the streets, demanding the dismantling of his regime and a swift transition to civilian rule. In recent weeks they have threatened a general strike and civil disobedience.
At least a dozen protesters were wounded Monday in clashes with the military, the Sudan Doctors Committee said, including eight at the ongoing sit-in area outside the military headquarters in Khartoum. The doctors committee is part of the Sudanese Professionals Association , which has spearheaded the protests since December.
Footage circulating online showed protesters blocking roads in Khartoum with burning tires and trees. Other footage showed men from the Rapid Support Forces forcibly dispersing protesters. The paramilitary RSF, which has led counterinsurgency campaigns in Darfur and other regions, is led by Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of the military council.
The SPA said the road closures were in response to the military council’s delay in handing over power to civilians.
The protesters had resumed negotiations with the army earlier Monday while also calling for more demonstrations nationwide, including another march to the main sit-in.
Lt. Gen. Shams al-Deen al-Kabashi, a spokesman for the military council, said Monday’s meeting, the first in over a week, was held “in a more optimistic atmosphere.”
The protesters are represented by the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, a coalition of opposition groups led by the SPA.
Al-Kabashi said they agreed on the creation of a sovereign council, a Cabinet and a legislative body that would govern the country during the transition. He said they will discuss the makeup of the three bodies and the duration of the transition on Tuesday.
The two sides remain divided over what role the military, which is dominated by al-Bashir appointees, should have in the transition period until elections can be held. The military wants to play a leading role in a transition lasting up to two years, while the protesters have demanded an immediate transition to a civilian-led authority that would govern for four years.
The protesters fear the army will cling to power or select one of its own to succeed al-Bashir. They also worry that Islamists and other factions close to the deposed leader, who is now jailed in Khartoum, will be granted a role in the transition.
The military agreed last month to recognize the FDFC as the uprising’s only legitimate representative in a victory for the protesters. But the generals have called for other political parties — with the exception of al-Bashir’s National Congress Party — to be included in the transition. AP