« Sudanese government is preventing a fair trial to take place, so it is the role of the UN, which referred the case to the ICC, to intervene”, defence lawyer of both accused, Karim Khan, told the judges during a hearing before the ICC on Wednesday.
The situation in Darfur was referred to the ICC by United Nations Security Council on March 2005.
Former commander of the Justice and Equality Movement Banda, and former Chief of Staff of SLA-Unity Jerbo are accused of crimes against humanity for a 2007 attack on Haskanita military base, in which twelve international peacekeepers died.
The two men have appeared voluntarily before the ICC in 2010. Charges against them were confirmed in March 2011.
Karim Khan explained that the defence cannot investigate properly because of Sudan's refusal to cooperate with the Court. “Potential witnesses have huge difficulties to cross borders, and they say it’s risky to go back to Darfur after testifying for the defence”, Karim Khan said.
He added that the government of Sudan not only refuses to cooperate with investigations, but has made any cooperation with the ICC a criminal offence.
Khartoum has been opposing the ICC ever since the Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir in July 2008 for crimes allegedly committed in Darfur.
Karim Khan claimed that the trial should be suspended until something changes. However, the Prosecution disagrees, on ground that the victims are waiting for justice to be rendered.