Omar Bashir: What to know about Sudan’s dictator accused of genocide

Omar Bashir: What to know about Sudan’s dictator accused of genocide

For three decades, Omar al-Bashir ran Sudan with an iron fist while marred by allegations of genocide before a military coup overthrew him in 2019.

Al-Bashir, 76, seized power in Sudan after a military coup in 1989. For years, the dictator evaded the International Criminal Court (ICC), despite global condemnation. Being mostly out of reach, al-Bashir frequently traveled abroad to visit friendly leaders without fear of arrest, having even attended the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Sudan has been embroiled in violence for decades, particularly in the region of Darfur, where some 300,000 people have died of war-induced hunger and disease since 2003, according to the United Nations.

Omar al-Bashir delivering a speech inside Parliament in Khartoum, Sudan, in April 2019.

Omar al-Bashir delivering a speech inside Parliament in Khartoum, Sudan, in April 2019. (Reuters, File)

Al-Bashir’s government claimed it was merely crushing a rebellion, despite evidence of an ethnic-cleansing campaign that targeted minority groups.

In April 2019, al-Bashir was ousted and arrested in a military coup and amid massive public protests over his rule. He has been jailed in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, on charges of corruption and killing protesters.

Initially, military leaders refused to hand al-Bashir over to The Hague, saying he would be tried at home. But, on Feb. 11, Sudan’s new joint military and civilian council agreed the disgraced leader would appear before the ICC.

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“Justice cannot be achieved if we don’t heal the wounds,” government spokesperson Mohammed Hassan Eltaish said. “We agreed that everyone who had arrest warrants issued against them will appear before the ICC. I’m saying it very clearly.”

Still, the exact terms of that transfer have remained unclear.

On Saturday, more than 100 diplomats with ties to al-Bashir were fired by the recently created Empowerment Removal Committee, Reuters reported.

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Speaking from Khartoum, Mohamed al-Faki, the deputy head of the committee, told reporters: “109 ambassadors, diplomats, and administrators were fired from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and those were appointed through political and social empowerment.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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