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Darfur, Sudan: Ali Kushayb is in ICC custody

Photo of the International Criminal Court Courtesy of the ICC

Today, 9 June 2020, Ali Muhammad Ali Abd–Al-Rahman ("Ali Kushayb") is in the custody of the International Criminal Court (ICC) after surrendering himself voluntarily in the Central African Republic on account of an ICC arrest warrant issued on 27 April 2007. Mr Kushayb is suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Darfur (Sudan). The initial appearance of Mr Kushayb before the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II will take place in due course.

ICC Registrar Mr Peter Lewis thanked the Minister of Justice Flavien M'Bata and the authorities of the Central African Republic, the French Republic, the Republic of Chad, as well as the leaders of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and the authorities of the host State, the Netherlands, for their support to the Court and cooperation in the arrest, surrender and transfer of Mr. Kushayb to the Court.

Mr Kushayb, Sudanese national born approximately in 1957, was allegedly one of the most senior leaders in the tribal hierarchy in the Wadi Salih locality and member of the Popular Defence Forces (PDF) and allegedly commanded thousands of Janjaweed militia from on or about August 2003 until on or about March 2004. He is alleged to have implemented the counter-insurgency strategy of the Government of Sudan that also resulted in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, Sudan. Mr Kushayb is perceived to be the mediator between the leaders of the Janjaweed militia in Wadi Salih and the Government of Sudan. He is also alleged to have enlisted fighters, armed, funded and provided food and other supplies to the Janjaweed militia under his command, thereby intentionally contributing to the above-mentioned crimes. Ali Kushayb is alleged to have personally participated in some of the attacks against civilians namely in the towns of Kodoom, Bindist, Mukjar and Arawala between August 2003 and March 2004, where the killing of civilians, rape, torture and other cruel treatments occurred, therefore he allegedly committed, jointly with others, the above-mentioned crimes.

On 27 April 2007, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I issued two warrants of arrest, against Ali Kushayb and Ahmad Harun (not in ICC custody). Pre-Trial Chamber I considered that there are reasonable grounds to believe that, (i) from about August 2002, an armed conflict took place between the Government of Sudan including combatants from the Sudan People's Armed Forces (the Sudanese Armed Forces) and the Popular Defence Force (PDF) along with the Janjaweed militia against organised rebel groups, including the Sudanese Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in Darfur, Sudan; (ii) in 2003 and 2004, that the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Janjaweed militia, acting together as part of the counter-insurgency campaign, carried out several attacks, of a systematic or widespread nature, on the towns of Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar, Arawala and surrounding areas. In the above mentioned towns criminal acts were allegedly committed against civilians primarily from the Fur, Zaghawa and Masalit populations, such as murders of civilians, rapes and outrages upon the personal dignity of women and girls, persecution , forcible transfers, imprisonment or severe deprivation of liberty, and attacks intentionally directed against the above-mentioned populations.

The warrant of arrest delivered on 27 April 2007 against Ali Kushayb lists 50 counts on the basis of his individual criminal responsibility including:

- Twenty-two counts of crimes against humanity (murder; deportation or forcible transfer of population; imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law; torture ; persecution; rape; inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering ); and

- Twenty-eight counts of war crimes (murder, violence to life and person; outrage upon personal dignity in particular humiliating and degrading treatment; intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population; pillaging; rape; destroying or seizing the property).

Background: Using its authority under the Rome Statute, the United Nations Security Council referred the situation in Darfur since 1 July 2002 to the ICC Prosecutor in resolution 1593 on 31 March 2005. Following the referral from the United Nations Security Council, the Prosecutor received the conclusion of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur. In addition, the Office of the Prosecutor requested information from a variety of sources, leading to the collection of thousands of documents. The Prosecutor concluded that the statutory requirements for initiating an investigation were satisfied and decided to open the investigation on 6 June 2005.

Five ICC warrants of arrest are still pending in the context of this situation against MM Harun, Al Bashir, Banda, and Hussein.

Source: ICC

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