The Darfur Bar Association (DBA) has denounced the trial of Sheikh Musa Hilal in a Khartoum court martial.
In a statement on Sunday, the DBA criticised the military trial of Darfur militia leader Musa Hilal, “which is currently being conducted without taking into account the principles of a public trial”.
According to the Darfur lawyers, Hilal's “trial is a violation of the fair trial standards enshrined in the Sudanese Constitution and the law, which is casting doubts on its fairness and integrity, regardless of the acts attributed to Musa Hilal and his affiliates”.
Hilal should immediately be transferred to a criminal court. “This would constitute the only guarantee for correcting the violated legal procedures,” the statement reads.
Notorious janjaweed leader Musa Hilal and chairman of the Revolutionary Awakening Council (RAC) was arrested in a raid on his stronghold in Misteriya, North Darfur, in November last year. His sons, brothers, and entourage, were detained as well. Hilal, who refused to operate with the government’s disarmament campaign, was transferred to Khartoum. His trial secretly began on April 30.
Hilal is held responsible for the atrocities committed in Darfur against civilians after the conflict erupted in 2003. In that year, he was released from prison by the Sudanese government with the purpose to mobilise Darfuri Arab herders to fight the insurgency in the region.
With full government backing, Hilal's militiamen (janjaweed) targeted villages of African Darfuris. They rarely came near forces of the armed rebel movements.
In 2008, Hilal was appointed as Presidential Assistant for Federal Affairs. In January 2014, he announced his defection from the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), and established the RAC.
The Council consists of Hilal’s militiamen and a number of North Darfur native administration leaders. RAC commanders took control of the Jebel Amer gold mining area in El Sareif Beni Hussein locality in July 2015. According to a UN Security Council report in April 2016, Hilal and his entourage were profiting from vast gold sales in Darfur.