The crimes of Darfur under the scrutiny of the International Criminal Court

Sudanese Ali Mohamed Ali Abdelrahman, prosecuted before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity and war crimes, in The Hague, April 4, 2022.

The first testimony relied on by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the opening of the trial of Ali Mohamed Ali Abdelrahman, the former leader of the janjawid militia, on April 5, “is just one of the human tragedies” that Darfur has known. This is the story of a young boy who saw his mother killed at close range while she was breastfeeding her 4-5 month old child. Now an adult, he will testify in the coming months before the Court, almost twenty years after the crimes.

In The Hague, former Sudanese militiaman Ali Mohamed Ali Abdelrahman faces crimes against humanity and war crimes for murder, torture, rape, looting and other crimes committed in 2003 and 2004 in West Darfur. This is the first international trial initiated for the atrocities committed in this region of western Sudan where, according to the UN, the war between the dictatorship of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and a rebellion would have left 300,000 dead and 2 .5 million displaced.

Also read the archive (2004): Article reserved for our subscribers Khartoum crushes Darfur rebellion with fire and blood

“Criminal policy” planned by Khartoum

According to the prosecutor, the former leader of the janjaweed would have participated in a “criminal policy” planned by the authorities in Khartoum, intended to subdue the rebel groups. But, at 72, the accused judges that the prosecutor cut him a suit that was too large. He says it, adjusting a fuchsia tie, facing the three judges: “I am innocent of all these charges. » He denies being Ali Kushayb, which would be his nom de guerre. According to his lawyer, Cyril Laucci, he is “a private Sudanese citizen from the Ta’aisha tribe, who ran a pharmacy in Garsila in 2003, before joining a police reserve training center in 2004”. And not one of these “devils on horseback”. These militiamen attacked the villages at dawn, with the Sudanese forces, provoking “a caravan of people fleeing attacks into an uncertain and unpredictable future”recalled Karim Khan, the ICC prosecutor.

In its pre-trial brief, the prosecution cites documents, a written plan, according to which the janjawid were recruited to impose “control over all the villages and regions to which the rebel leaders belong”. They were trained, armed and financed by the regime in Khartoum. As proof, the prosecution believes, the salaries of some of these warriors were transferred to their accounts by the Ministry of Finance and the Interior. “Millet and Silver” were sometimes “paid through regional zakat offices [l’impôt caritatif islamique] and West Darfur Herders Association”we still read in the brief of the prosecutor.

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