The corruption charges announced today against the deposed former president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, should be the first step in an anti-corruption process built on democratic institutions and respect for human rights, according to Transparency International. While also prosecuting the corrupt with no opportunity for impunity, authorities in Sudan must create the conditions in which citizens have a voice in their future.
Bashir was ousted by the Sudanese military in April following massive public protests against his rule, which were partly fuelled by outrage over rampant corruption. Sudan has the sixth highest levels of public sector corruption in the world, according to the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index. Over US$113 million in cash was reportedly found at Bashir’s residence after he was removed from office.
In recent weeks, there have been reports of gross human rights violations and atrocities committed by the Sudanese military. Transparency International calls for all perpetrators of violent human rights abuses to be prosecuted.
Kinda Hattar, regional coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa at Transparency International, said: “The situation in Sudan has the potential to lead to years of instability and violence, which would only entrench the already shockingly high levels of corruption there. The country needs a period of stability to build democratic institutions, good governance systems and restore the people’s trust in government. The protection of activists and a safe space for civil society is absolutely crucial to that. Long-term military rule would destroy the prospect of establishing the institutions Sudan needs in order to combat corruption and protect human rights.”