The office of the prosecutor appealed the decision of the pre-trial chamber declining to confirm charges again Bahar Idriss Abu Garda. The trial chamber decision, originally blogged here, found that the office of the prosecutor had not produced enough evidence to continue the case for trial. The standard of proof at the confirmation of charges hearing is “substantial grounds.” Abu Garda was charged with three war crimes, violence to life, directing attacks against peacekeeping forces, and pillaging.
The court issues indictments when the prosecutor establishes “reasonable grounds” for the charges. If the pre-trial chamber finds “substantial grounds,” the case is continued for trial where the case must be established beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Abu Garda case is unique in a number of ways. Abu Garda is the first defendant from the situation in Darfur to appear before the court, and the first accused in any situation to appear voluntarily before the court. He is now the first to have his case dismissed at the confirmation of charges hearing and the first to have a dismissal affirmed by the appeals chamber.
The Hague Justice Portal blog on the appeals chamber decision is available here. The appeals chamber decision was issued on April 23, 2010, the pre-trial chamber declined to confirm the charges on February 8, 2010. The other three accused from the Darfur situation, Omar Al Bashir, the President of Sudan, the country’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, and the leader of the Janjaweed militia all remain at large. The Government of Sudan has not cooperated with the court and is not a signatory to the treaty. The situation in Darfur was referred to the court by the U.N. Security Council.
The International Criminal Court sits in The Hague and is intended to be a permanent court to decide charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide that cannot or will not be prosecuted by national authorities.