NAIROBI, Kenya — The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, in his first visit to the capital of Sudan, said Thursday he was hopeful that the Sudanese government would turn over former President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to face charges of genocide and war crimes in the region of Darfur.
Mr. al-Bashir, 77, was ousted two years ago and has been imprisoned since then. He has been wanted by the international court in The Hague since 2009 over atrocities committed by his government in Darfur, where at least 300,000 people were killed and 2.7 million displaced in a war from 2003 to 2008, the United Nations estimates.
The court has been pressing Sudan’s transitional government, which took over after Mr. al-Bashir was deposed, to hand him over along with other leaders accused of crimes in Darfur.
It will not be an easy decision.
The transitional government is made up of both civilian and military leaders, and some of those military leaders, once allied with Mr. al-Bashir, were also implicated in the atrocities in Darfur, a western region. If he is extradited, he might give evidence that could expose them to prosecution.
But Karim Khan, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, struck a note of hope Thursday at a news conference in the capital, Khartoum.
“There is from my meeting today a lot of cause for optimism,” said Mr. Khan, adding: “This is a very critical moment for Sudan. We cannot march from the darkness into light without dealing with some of the issues and injustices of the past.”
If Mr. al-Bashir is turned over for trial, it will mark a major step
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