Who is Abd-al-Rahman?

The ICC Prosecutor calls him « the colonel of colonels » of the Janjaweed militia that committed genocidal killings in the Sudan region of Darfur in 2003-2004. The defense claims he is actually not the man the International Criminal Court was looking for. The trial of Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-al-Rahman, also known as Ali Kushayb, for war crimes and crimes against humanity, has gone through the early phase of confirmation of charges last week in The Hague. It was the last appearance in court of Fatou Bensouda as the ICC Prosecutor. And we even heard Amal Clooney joining in from a distance. Our partners from Asymmetrical Haircuts introduce us to the first Darfur trial at the ICC. Right before Bensouda goes to Sudan in the hope to obtain the transfer of Sudan’s former “general of generals”: Omar al-Bashir.

Who is Abd-al-Rahman?
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More than 15 years in the making – a referral by the United Nations Security Council was in 2005 – the first ever Darfur trial kicked off last week at the ICC, with the confirmation of charges hearing of Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-al-Rahman.

Also known as ‘Ali Kushayb’ – although the defence contests a lot about the nickname including whether it refers to a tough fibre or not – he allegedly was a senior commander of pro-government “Janjaweed” militias during the Darfur conflict in 2003-2004. He’s now facing 31 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. His defence team has already argued that he is not the man the ICC is looking for and is also planning to contest the court’s jurisdiction over Darfur because of issues with the UN referral.

Abd-al-Rahman was apprehended in June last year, when he surrendered himself in the Central African Republic. Another ICC wanted man for crimes committed in Darfur, former Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, is in prison in Khartoum after being deposed in 2019.

Asymmetrical Haircuts podcastASYMMETRICAL HAIRCUTS

This podcast has been published as part of a partnership between JusticeInfo.net and Asymmetrical Haircuts, a podcast on international justice produced from The Hague by journalists Janet Anderson and Stephanie van den Berg, who retain full control and independence over the contents of the podcast.