KHARTOUM - A Sudanese prosecutor suggested Monday that nationals wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes like ousted president Omar al-Bashir may not be extradited to The Hague.
Bashir, who was overthrown by the army in April last year amid huge protests against his rule, has been wanted by the ICC for his role in the Darfur conflict and faces charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
But prosecutor Tagelsir al-Hebr said "individuals wanted by the International Criminal Court are not required to be (physically) present at the court's headquarters (in The Hague)" for a judgement.
Hebr, who did not refer to Bashir by name, said "legal obstacles" concerning Sudan's "sovereignty" stand in the way of extraditing people to the ICC.
Hebr did not elaborate but said Sudan would "coordinate" any future action with the ICC.
His comments came as Sudanese militia leader Ali Kushayb, who turned himself in earlier this month after 13 years on the run, appeared Monday before the ICC via video-link from a detention centre in The Hague.
Kushayb, who was not in court due to coronavirus measures, was informed of charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity against him over the Darfur conflict. He denied the accusations.
The Darfur conflict broke out in 2003 when ethnic minority rebels who complained of systematic discrimination took up arms against the Arab-dominated government of Bashir.
The long-time dictator was ousted in April 2019 after months of street demonstrations against his three decade rule.
In December, Bashir was sentenced to two years detention in a correctional facility in an initial corruption case.
Pending rulings in other cases, he remains in Khartoum's Kober prison.
In February, a transitional government now ruling Sudan approved in principle the transfer of suspects wanted by the ICC to The Hague.
Several former aides to Bashir, including ex-government minister Ahmed Haroun, are also wanted for war crimes committed in Darfur.