Tag Archives: Abu Garda

Pre-Trial Chamber Confirms Charge in Darfur Case

Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued a finding confirming the charges against Abdallah Banda and Saleh Jerbo.  The court statement said the court  found that Banda and Jerbo should stand trial for three war crimes:

  • violence to life and attempted violence to life;
  • intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units and vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission; and
  • pillaging.

The court included the following information supporting the charges:

These crimes were allegedly committed during an attack led by Abdallah Banda and Saleh Jerbo and other commanders and directed against the compound of the African Union Mission in Sudan at Haskanita on the evening of 29 September 2007. The Chamber found substantial grounds to believe that the attack was directed to personnel, installations, material, units and vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations which were entitled to the protection afforded to civilians and civilian objects.

Banda and Jerbo appeared voluntarily before the court, following the lead of Bahar Idriss Abu Garda who also appeared voluntarily, but won a dismissal at the confirmation of charges hearing.  The court has also issued indictments against the President of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Ahmad Harun, and Janjaweed leader Ali Kushayab.  The situation in Darfur was the first case referred to the ICC by the United Nations Security Council.  The second, Libya, was referred last week.

To date, Sudan has refused to turn the indictees over to the court, so the only ones who have appeared are the three who have appeared voluntarily.

The seventy five page decision is available here. There are currently three cases in trial stage at the ICC, the case against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a joint case against Matthieu Ngdolo Chui and Germain Katanga, and the case against Jean Pierre Bemba Gombo.  Another accused, Callixte Mbarushimana has recently arrived in The Hague. In addition to the Sudan accused at large, there is one accused from the Democratic Republic of Congo still at large and three from Uganda who have not yet appeared before the court.

There may be other indictments that have not yet been made public.  Indictments in the post-election violence in Kenya case were also released today.

Fourth DRC Suspect Arrested in France

The fourth person accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Callixte Mbarushimana has been arrested in France.  Mbarushima is listed as the Executive Secretary of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, (FDLR) and is accused of six counts of war crimes and was arrested outside his home in Paris to fact charges at the International Criminal Court, (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands.

The warrant naming Mbarushimana was unsealed after his arrest, raising the question  of how many other sealed indictments and warrants await public disclosure.  The ICC press release on the arrest of Mbarushimana is available here. Bloomberg news covered the story here.

According to a fact sheet released by the ICC:

 In sealed documents submitted to the ICC
judges on 20 August 2010, the Office of the
Prosecutor (OTP) presented evidence against
Mr. Callixte MBARUSHIMANA, Executive
Secretary of the FDLR, charging him with 6
counts of war crimes and 5 counts of crimes
against humanity.
 The Court’s Pre‐Trial Chamber I issued a
sealed arrest warrant on 28 September 2010.
 On 11 October 2010, the French authorities
executed the arrest warrant and arrested Mr.
Callixte MBARUSHIMANA in Paris, France.

The fact sheet describes the allegations as follows:

 Mr. Callixte MBARUSHIMANA is accused
of being among the top FDLR leaders that, at
the end of 2008 and over the course of 2009,
agreed to conduct widespread and systematic
attacks against the civilian population in order
to create a humanitarian catastrophe. He is
also accused of agreeing to conduct and
personally conducting an international
campaign intended to persuade the DRC and
Rwanda Governments and the international
community that the FDLR could not be
defeated militarily and thereby to extort from
them concessions of political power for the
FDLR in Rwanda as a condition for the FDLR
to stop committing atrocities against civilians.
 The OTP accuses Mr. Callixte
MBARUSHIMANA, as part of the FDLR
leadership, of having used violence against
civilians as their main bargaining tool in their
international campaign to attempt to extort
from Rwanda and the international
community political power for the FDLR.
 The OTP accused Mr. Callixte
MBARUSHIMANA of being responsible for
the crimes committed by the FDLR in pursuit
of this goal as contributor to the commission
of crimes by the FDLR, a group acting with a
criminal common purpose.
 As such, the OTP alleges that Mr. Callixte
MBARUSHIMANA is responsible for the war
crimes of (1) attacks against the civilian
population; (2) destruction of property; (3)
murders or willful killings; (4) rape; (5)
inhuman treatment; and (6) torture, and the
crimes against humanity of (1) murders; (2)
torture; (3) rape; (4) inhumane acts; and (5)
persecution.

Mbarushmina is the first accused at the ICC to face charges for crimes alleged to have been committed in the Kivus provinces of the DRC.  The three accused from the DRC who are presently at the ICC are in trial.

Thomas Lubanga Dyilo former head of the Union of Congolese Patriots was brought to the court in 2006, his trial began in January 2009, with the defense case beginning in January 2010.  His trial was adjourned for failure by the prosecutor to disclose the identity of an investigator, but is expected to resume shortly.

Germain Katanga and Matthieu Ngdolo Chui are also from the DRC and are being tried together.  Their trial commenced on November 24, 2009.  Katanga and Chui are accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity including, using child soldiers, sexual slavery, attacking civilians, rape and pillaging.

Those are the only cases to come to trial in the history of the ICC.  A third trial, that of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, of the Central African Republic accused of rape and murder as crimes against humanity and rape, murder and pillaging as war crimes is awaiting the end of the  Lubanga trial in order to start trial.

The ICC began in 2002 when the 60th nation ratified its treaty, as of November 1, there will 114 nations that have ratified the treaty and subjected their citizens to the jurisdiction of the ICC.

Three citizens of Sudan, which is not a state’s party to the ICC have appeared before the court voluntarily to face charges.  The first, Bahr Idriss Abu-Garda had his case dismissed at the confirmation of charges hearing.  Two others, Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jermus are awaiting the confirmation of charges hearing after appearing voluntarily in June of 2010.

There are outstanding warrants for the arrest of Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, the president of Sudan for genocide and war crimes, Ahmed Harun, minister of Humanitarian Affairs in Sudan and the leader of the Janjaweed Militia, Ali Kushayeb. The case against Al-Bashir is the most controversial, having raised concerns about the indictments of sitting heads of state. Al Bashir is the first sitting head of state to be indicted for war crimes or crimes against humanity by an international tribunal.

There have been public indictments issued from investigations in Uganda, and the prosecutor has announced the indictments will be published in the next few months in the investigations into post-election violence in Kenya.

The prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, has also said there may be investigations into crimes within the jurisdiction of the court in Afghanistan, Colombia,  Georgia, and  Guinea.  At the moment, the only publicly disclosed investigation are from five contiguous countries in Africa, DRC, Central African Republic, Kenya, Uganda and the Darfur region in Sudan.

St. Lucia Ratifies ICC Treaty

This week the Caribbean Island nation of St. Lucia became the 113th nation to ratify the Treaty of Rome and become a member of International Criminal Court (ICC).  The ICC treaty became effective in 2002 when the 60th nation ratified the treaty.   In 1998, the treaty was signed by 120 countries and developed the framework for a court.

The court is intended to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide.  The court has jurisdiction in the nations that have ratified the treaty and that jurisdiction extends to acts from the effective date, July 1, 20o2.

The court was in part a response to international tribunals which had been created to prosecute crimes in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone.  Instead of creating a new tribunal for each set of atrocities, the idea was to create a permanent court to hear all such cases.

In order to have jurisdiction, the crimes must occur in one of the states which has ratified the treaty, or the case must be referred by the U.N. Security Council.  The ICC has indicted persons from Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and Darfur, Sudan.  The court has also approved an investigation into the post-election violence in Kenya, but no indictments have been made public.

The first ICC case to go to trial, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been suspended because of the prosecution’s failure to comply with discovery orders by the court.  This case may provide a test of the lasting power of the court and its ability to function.  The court has ordered Lubanga released, but that order has been stayed pending appeal.

The court also has outstanding arrest warrants for the President of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir.  The court has indicted Bashir for genocide, and war crimes in Sudan, but his government and many other countries have declined to arrest Bashir and present him to the court.

Another case that came to the court from Sudan, Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, won dismissal of the charges against him at the confirmation of charges hearing. Two more accused from Sudan have now voluntarily appeared before the ICC and are contesting the confirmation of charges.

A major criticism of the court so far has been that all the cases have come from Africa, in fact adjoining countries in Africa.  The ICC Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo has said that more cases will be forthcoming and has said investigations are ongoing in Georgia, Guinea, Afghanistan, and Colombia.

The court cannot prosecute cases where a national authority has the jurisdiction and ability to prosecute.  Its mandate is to prosecute only those crimes that will otherwise go unpunished and those that are severe enough to qualify as war crimes or crimes against humanity.  The ICC sits in The Hague, Netherlands.

International Criminal Court Issues Another Warrant for Sudanese President Bashir

The International Criminal Court (ICC) Pretrial Chamber I has issued another arrest warrant for the President of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir.  This decision follows an earlier direction from the appeals chamber, detailed here, that determined that the Pre-Trial Chamber had used the wrong standard in failing to indict Bashir for genocide.

Bashir is the first sitting head of state to be indicted by an international tribunal and have a warrant issued for his arrest, he now also bears the distinction of being the first person to be indicted for genocide by the International Criminal Court and the first person for whom an arrest warrant for genocide was issued.  There are now two arrest warrants out for Bashir.  The ICC’ press release is available here.

The situation in Darfur was referred to the ICC by the U.N. Security Council. Sudan is not a signatory to the  ICC treaty.  Bashir and the minister of Humanitarian Affairs in Sudan, Ahmad Harun are the Sudanese government officials who have been indicted.  Ali Kushayab, reputed head of the Janjaweed militia has also been indicted.  None of those three have appeared before the court.  Three other accused from Sudan have appeared voluntarily before the court.  Of the three who have voluntarily appeared, one,  Bahar Idriss Abu Garda had his case dismissed at the confirmation of charges hearing.  The other two are awaiting their confirmation of charges hearings.

Sudan was referred to the ICC for investigation of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.  Several victims have been granted the right to participate in these cases when they commence.  Persons who are victims of war crimes have a right to participate in the ICC cases and to seek reparations if there is a conviction.