Sudan’s ousted foreign minister Mariam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi has demanded the military leaders of the October military coup to be brought to justice in the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Al-Mahdi, in a statement addressed to the UN Human Rights Council on Friday, said, “Coups are crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.”
In the statement published on Sudan’s information ministry Facebook page, she referred to Article 8 of the ICC’s Rome Statute in making her argument for the criminalization of the coup as a “war crime”.
Al-Mahdi, one of the few members of the government not to have been arrested by the military, has been a vocal critic of the coup.
Her comments came as the UN Human Rights Council convened a special session in Geneva on Friday to discuss a draft resolution condemning the military takeover in Sudan presented by Britain, Germany, Norway and the United States.
The resolution calls for “the immediate restoration” of the civilian-led government and “and the release of all those detained arbitrarily, since the takeover began.”
The council did not release her statement that was only posted online by Sudan’s ministry of information, which is still loyal to Hamdok’s government.
On October 25, a military coup was staged and Sudan’s top general, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, dissolved the cabinet and the ruling military-civilian sovereign council. He also declared a state of emergency and put Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok under an effective house arrest, while detaining other leading members of his government.
Before the military coup, the African country was ruled by a transitional government that was installed in the aftermath of the ouster of president al-Bashir in a palace coup two years ago. The military shared power with civilians in a transitional authority since the removal of al-Bashir in 2019 in a popular uprising after three decades in power.
In the recent weeks, the military has been mounting a harsh crackdown on protesters, who have been taking to the streets after Sudan’s main opposition coalition called for civil disobedience and protests across the country hours after the apparent military coup.
On Thursday, Burhan ordered the release of four cabinet ministers of telecommunications, trade, information, as well as youth and sports, who had been detained since the military coup in October.
Burhan’s order came as the army said the formation of a new government was “imminent,” following the army chief’s move last week to dissolve the government, detain the civilian leadership, including Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and declare a state of emergency.
As political tensions escalate, Sudan’s state television reported Friday that Burhan ordered the dissolution of all boards of directors of “state-run companies as well as agricultural and national projects.”