Tag Archives: Sudan

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.

Darfur Case Starts Confirmation of Charges Without the Accused Attending

The second Darfur, Sudan case has begun the confirmation of charges hearing at the International Criminal Court (ICC), but without the presence of the accused. Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain (Banda) and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus (Jerbo) are accused of directing attacks on African Union peacekeepers in 2007.  Banda and Jerbo appeared voluntarily before the court and have been under court supervision, but not in custody.  The Confirmation of Charges hearing began on December 8th. Banda  and Jerbo have received the approval of the court to not attend the hearings, though their lawyers will be in attendance.

In a previous Darfur case, the accused, Bahr Idriss Abu Garda (Abu Garda), appeared voluntarily before the court and had his case dismissed at the Confirmation of Charges stage.   Abu Garda was also accused of directing attacks on peacekeeping forces and other war crimes.

The ICC has jurisdiction to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide occurring since 2002 in the territories of the 114 nations that have ratified the ICC treaty, or by their nationals, or in the situations referred to the ICC by the United Nations Security Council.  The situation in Darfur is the first case to come to the court at the direction of the U.N. Security Council for the ongoing concerns of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes alleged to be ongoing in Darfur, though Sudan is not a signatory to the ICC treaty.

In addition to the three accused who have appeared voluntarily before the court, the court has publicly issued warrants for the arrest of the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, the minister of Humanitarian Affairs of Sudan, Ahmad Harun, and the rebel leader Ali Kushayb.  The warrant for Bashir was the first public indictment of a sitting head of state by an International Tribunal.  The indictments against Banda, Jerbo and Abu Garda were not made public until they appeared before the court.  It is not known how many indictments have been issued under seal.

Human Rights Watch Asks Kenya to Bar Entry to Bashir

Human Rights Watch along with other NGOs have urged that Kenya refuse entry or arrest Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir.  Bashir is the first sitting head of state indicted by an International Criminal Tribunal.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands has indicted Bashir for war crimes and genocide in Darfur, and issued two warrants for his arrest. He traveled to Kenya earlier this year, but was not arrested.  Kenya is a signatory to the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC.  All state parties of the ICC have agreed to cooperate with the ICC and arrest the persons sought by the ICC.

Sudan is not a signatory to the ICC treaty and has refused to surrender its president or the other ICC accused from its territory.  The situation in Sudan was referred to the ICC by a vote of the U.N. Security Council.

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.