Outgoing ICC chief prosecutor says transfer of Sudanese Bashir is ‘a possibility’

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Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), is about to resign after nine years in office.

In an interview with Jowharfrom The Hague, she said the transfer of deposed Sundanese President Omar al-Bashir to the ICC was “a possibility” in the near future.

Bensouda called the sanctions imposed on her by the Trump administration last year, which were later lifted by the Biden administration, “a difficult and unfortunate moment” for her and the court.

A few days before the end of her term as chief prosecutor, Bensouda praised her recent visit to Sudan as “historic” after years of paralysis over the matter before the ICC. She said she was finally able to meet the victims in Darfur and discussed with the transitional authorities the situation of several officials charged by the court. She said the transfer of former President Omar al-Bashir to the ICC is “a possibility” in the near future.

Bensouda, however, refused to acknowledge that the acquittal of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo was a failure for the ICC, stressing that its main priority was to do justice to the victims.

She stressed that the investigation into the pro-Ouattara camp is still ongoing, making good progress and announcements will be made shortly. She denied the idea that this was just a way for her to fend off criticism that her office didn’t disappear until after the pro-Gbagbo camp.

The ICC’s chief prosecutor said recent violence in Gaza is also being actively investigated, especially as her office had already opened a formal investigation into the violence in the region in March.

Bensouda also indicated that her office was about to decide whether to open an investigation into alleged crimes committed by the regime in Venezuela.

Finally, she called the sanctions imposed on her by the Trump administration last year “a difficult and unfortunate moment” for her and the court. She praised the Biden administration’s lifting of sanctions and welcomed the prospect of renewed cooperation with the US “on the basis of mutual respect”.