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ICC rejects former Darfur janjaweed leader's appeal for interim release

February 5 - 2021 THE HAGUE
Ali Kushayb in court at the ICC (ICC)
Ali Kushayb in court at the ICC (ICC)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) Appeals Chamber confirmed that Ali Muhammad Ali Abdelrahman (also known as Ali Kushayb) will remain in the custody of the ICC.

Piotr Hofmański, presiding ICC judge on the appeal, read a summary of the judgement in open court confirming the decision of Pre-Trial Chamber II to reject the interim release of Kushayb this afternoon.

On October 8, the Pre-Trial Chamber II officially rejected Kushayb’s request for interim release to the court’s host state, the Netherlands, pending trial.

The decision was based on the Pre-Trial Chamber’s conclusion that the continued detention of Kushayb appeared necessary “to ensure that the investigation or court proceedings are not obstructed or endangered,” including ensuring the safety of witnesses.

Kushayb filed three grounds of appeal to the decision on January 4, arguing that the reasons for his detention are grounded in inadmissible evidence. He further argued that the chamber “failed to appreciate his personal circumstances in rejecting his request for interim release,” including his health and age.

On January 11, ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, filed her response which noted that “the appellant is required to substantiate the reasons why he believes the Pre-Trial Chamber erred and how this impacted its decision to keep him in detention. His repeated failure to do so warrants the dismissal of those arguments in limine.”

The judgement of the Appeals Chamber published today reflects the response of the prosecutor, rejecting all three grounds for appeal made by Kushayb.

Warrant of arrest

In 2007, the ICC issued arrest warrants against former Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Ahmed Haroun, and Kushayb for numerous counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Kushayb was transferred to the ICC's custody on June 9 after surrendering himself voluntarily in the Central African Republic.

On June 11, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the ICC reclassified as public, with redactions, a second warrant of arrest against Kushayb. An ICC statement explained that the second arrest warrant was initially issued as secret on January 16, 2018. It adds three new charges of war crimes (murder) and crimes against humanity (murder and other inhumane acts) allegedly committed in Deleig and surrounding areas between March 5 and 7, 2004.

Upon his arrest, the Sudanese government announced its support for his transfer to the ICC. Kushayb is also charged with a number of crimes by the Sudanese authorities.

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