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ICC dismisses charges against Darfur rebel leader Abu Garda

February 8 - 2010 THE HAGUE

(By Radio Dabanga)

The rebel leader Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, accused of killing 10 Nigerian peacekeepers in Darfur in 2007, will not be charged anymore by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The court issued a statement saying it declined to confirm the charges against Abu Garda due to a lack of sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that he could be criminally responsible for war crimes. He was accused by the prosecutor Ocampo of involvement in intentional attacks against personnel, installations and vehicles of the African Union peacekeepers in September 2007 in Haskanita in North Darfur. The Court of the Pre-Trial Chamber I stressed that the crimes were of sufficient gravity since they had affected the lives of at least 10 peacekeepers, and local residents, but it caused also huge displacement and the peacekeeping was hindered. But the evidence for the involvement of Abu Garda was not sufficient. The court’s decision was taken in unanimity. One judge filed a separate opinion justifying his concurrence on slightly different grounds from the other justices. The court will consider additional evidence or will wait whether the prosecutor will appeal against the decision. Abu Garda was the first accused person who voluntarily appeared before the world court. Other cases are against the government officials Ahmad Muhammad Harun (“Ahmad Harun”) and Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman (“Ali Kushayb”) and the President of Sudan, Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir. Last week the Appeal Court asked the Pre-Trial Chamber to reconsider charges against President Omar al Bashir for genocide. These charges had also been dismissed before by the Pre-Trial Court I.

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