Omar al-Bashir ruled Sudan for 30 years before he was deposed by the military [File: Umit Bektas /Reuters]
The deposed leader faces charges related to “possessing foreign currency, corruption and receiving gifts illegally”.
Bashir’s trial comes against the backdrop of the country’s struggle to form a sovereign council, the first step after the landmark adoption of a transitional constitution.
On Saturday, protest leaders and the military signed a final power-sharing deal, paving the way for a transition to a civilian-led government.
Al-Bashir seized power in a military coup on June 30, 1989, and stayed in office until April 11, 2019, when he was overthrown and arrested by the armed forces.
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His downfall was brought about by thousands of Sudanese from all walks of life who took to the streets for four months to demand an end to the 75-year-old’s rule.
The demonstrations erupted over rising food prices before morphing into broader demands for political change, the culmination of years of anger over long-standing corruption and repression.
Prosecutors have also opened other criminal probes against al-Bashir, including on charges of money laundering, financing “terrorism” and “ordering the killing of protesters” – the latter is an offence that carries the death penalty in Sudan.
Ahead of Monday’s trial, Amnesty International‘s Director for East Africa Joan Nyanyuki said in a statement: “While this trial is a positive step towards accountability for some of his alleged crimes, he remains wanted for heinous crimes committed against the Sudanese people.”
Over the course of his time in office, al-Bashir led Sudan through several conflicts and became wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged atrocities in Darfur. He was also the last man to lead a united Sudan, prior to South Sudan’s independence in 2011.