Darfur crimes on trial at the ICC

In this podcast, our partners at Asymmetrical Haircuts, Janet Anderson and Stephanie van den Berg, are discussing the first trial to open before the International Criminal Court (ICC) on crimes committed about 20 years ago in Sudan’s Darfur region. The accused Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, also known as "Ali Kushayb" – an identity he denies –, was allegedly one of the Janjaweed militia leaders. He is now 72 years old. Is there any hope that he could speak out on who gave the orders and plan the attacks? The shadow of Sudan’s former leader Omar Al Bachir, who is accused of genocide by the ICC prosecutor and remains out of reach of the court, hangs over this trial. But the case is “all the more relevant” because political dynamics that are at play today in Sudan and the Darfur region mirror those two decades ago, says Emma DiNapoli, a legal officer at international NGO Redress, who is the main guest in this program.

Janjaweed rider on his horse in a village in Sudan (Darfur region)© Julie Flint / AFP.
1 min 30Approximate reading time

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A big trial has started at the International Criminal Court – the first trial about atrocities in Darfur, nearly 20 years that region became an infamous byword for human rights abuses. The then Sudanese authorities mobilised mostly Arab militias, known as the Janjaweed, to crush a mostly non-Arab rebellion and many called it a genocide.

The Darfur situation was referred to the court by the UN Security Council and the new prosecutor Karim Khan has said that he is prioritising cases that come to The Hague that way.

The accused is a suspected former Janjaweed militia leader, Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, who faces 31 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including persecution, murder, rape and torture.

The International Federation for Human Rights FIDH brought Sudanese activists to attend the opening of the trial. Human rights lawyer Mossaad Mohamed Ali of the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies and Ahmed al Zubair from Sudan Human Rights Monitor provided insights into the expectations of survivors. Emma DiNapoli from the NGO Redress joined us to explain the background and what she saw in court.

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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.