ICC arrest warrant for Darfur rebel
The International Criminal Court (ICC) today issued an arrest warrant for rebel leader Abdallah Banda, accused of leading a deadly attack on a AU peacekeepers base in Haskanita , North Darfur, on 29 and 30 September 2007.
The ICC considered it “unlikely” that Abdallah Banda Abakar Nurein will voluntarily attend his war crimes trial, which was scheduled for 18 November. The trial has been suspended until “Mr Banda’s arrest or voluntary appearance”, the arrest warrant issued today stated.
The trial had formerly been set for 5 May this year, but the accused had not reacted to the summons. In July, the ICC Chamber dealing with the case, officially requested from the Sudanese government to “facilitate Mr Banda’s presence for his trial”. In August ICC’s Registry confirmed that the envelope containing the cooperation request had been returned without being opened.
“The Chamber finds that […] that a warrant of arrest now appears necessary to ensure Mr Banda's presence at trial,” the ICC stated in the text of the arrest warrant.
Banda last appeared voluntarily before the Court in June 2010, where he urged other war crimes suspects to surrender.
The ICC has no police force, and has to rely on cooperation from other countries to carry out its work.
On 29 September 2007, a force of about 1,000 rebel combatants attacked the small AU base in Haskanita, and stormed the base again in the early morning of the next day. Twelve peacekeepers were killed, and several others sustained injuries, seven of them seriously. The remaining peacekeepers were evacuated under the protection of troops of Sudan Armed Forces, who drove the rebels from the area.
According to the prosecution, Banda is allegedly criminally responsible as co-perpetrator for three war crimes: violence to life, whether committed or attempted; intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission; and pillaging.
Banda, born in 1963 in North Darfur, was at the time a field commander of the Justice and Equality Movement faction known as ‘Collective Leadership’. His co-accused, Saleh Jerbo, was killed in fighting on 19 April 2013.
Four others are indicted for crimes in Darfur: President Omar Al Bashir, charged with counts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes; Defence Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein; former minister of Humanitarian Affairs, and current governor of North Kordofan, Ahmed Haroun, and militia leader “Ali Kushayb”, all three charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.
File photo: Defence lawyer Karim Khan (L), Abdallah Banda (C, and the late Saleh Jerbo (R) in June 2010 (ICC)
Related: ICC Darfur Chamber terminates proceedings against Saleh Jerbo (4 October 2013)
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