Sudan's Bashir will not be extradited to ICC: military rulers

An image grab shows Lieutenant General Omar Zain al-Abdin, the head of the political military committee assigned by the chief of the new military council, addressing a press conference on April 12, 2019 in Khartoum. [AFP]

Sudan's ousted President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and war crimes, will not be extradited, the country's new military rulers said Friday.

"The President is currently in custody," the head of the military council's political committee, Lieutenant-General Omar Zain al-Abdin, told a news conference.

"We as a military council, we will not deliver the President abroad during our period" in office, Mr Abdin said when asked about the ICC arrest warrant.

Meanwhile, Sudan's new military rulers warned Friday they would tolerate no breaches of security after protesters defied a night-time curfew to keep up a sit-in demanding immediate civilian rule.

SEE ALSO :US revokes Bensouda visa over Afghan war crimes

"Our basic mission is to maintain the country's stability and security," the Lieutenant-General told a news conference.

"We will not allow any breach of security anywhere."

Protesters angry that army commanders have taken control after removing the veteran leader defied a night-time curfew to keep up four months of mass demonstrations on Friday.

Protest leaders dismissed the transitional military council formed by top brass after they toppled Mr Bashir on Thursday, as the "same old faces" from the old regime which had ruled the country with an iron fist for three decades.

Demonstrators demanded a civilian body to lead the transition to democracy and bring an end to the multiple conflicts which have pushed the country into worsening poverty.

SEE ALSO :ICC still retains power to shame accused perpetrators

Most shops and offices were closed on Friday which is the day of prayer and rest in Sudan.

Vast crowds were expected to throng the streets of Khartoum and its twin city Omdurman after the main weekly Muslim prayers at noon raising fears of confrontation.

Washington called on the military council "to exercise restraint and to allow space for civilian participation within the government".

The European Union urged the army to carry out a "swift" handover to civilian rule.

Sudan's last elected prime minister, opposition Umma party leader, Sadiq al-Mahdi, who was overthrown by Mr Bashir in a military coup in 1989, was expected to address supporters after prayers at one of Omdurman's most revered mosques.

SEE ALSO :After collapse of ICC cases, it’s time to debate domestic justice

Since returning to Khartoum from self-imposed exile, Mr Mahdi has allied his party with the grass-roots who were the driving force behind the mass protests that preceded Thursday's coup.

The Sudan Professionals Association -- a well organised umbella group of doctors, teachers and engineers -- has called for a huge turnout at Friday's turnout as has the wider opposition Alliance for Freedom and Democracy.

Despite warnings from the new military council to respect the nightime curfew, the soldiers posted outside army headquarters made no move to disperse the protesters who camped out there for a sixth straight night on Thursday, demonstrators said.

Protesters were seen chatting with soldiers. They said their quarrel was with the commanders who had led the coup, not the rank and file.

"There was no difference between last night and previous days and nights for us," said one protester who gave his name as Abu Obeida.

"This is now our square. We have taken it and won't leave until victory is achieved. We broke the curfew. We will continue doing it until we have a civilian transitional government."

The opposition Sudanese Congress Party called for the establishment of a joint military and civilian council to rule for a four-year transitional period.

It also urged the army to give executive powers to civilians.

Register to advertise your products & services on our classifieds website Digger.co.ke and enjoy one month subscription free of charge and 3 free ads on the Standard newspaper.

International Criminal CourtOmar al-Bashir