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ICC rejects interim release request of former Darfur janjaweed leader

October 10 - 2020 THE HAGUE
The International Criminal Court in The Hague (ICC)
The International Criminal Court in The Hague (ICC)

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC), has confirmed that it rejects Former Darfur janjaweed leader Ali Abdelrahman’s (also known as Ali Kushayb*) request for interim release.

Judge Piotr Hofmański, Presiding judge on this appeal, read a summary of the judgment to the court on Thursday.

On 14 August 2020, Pre-Trial Chamber II preliminarily rejected Mr Abd-Al Rahman’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 Ali Kushayb appeared necessary “to ensure that the investigation or court proceedings are not obstructed or endangered,” including ensuring the safety of witnesses.

According to the statement, Judge Ibáñez Carranza is appending a separate concurring opinion on the issues of the requalification of the alleged errors presented by Kushayb.

A decision to maintain the detention pending trial is reviewed by the competent Chamber at least every 120 days, and may be reviewed at any time at the request of the detained person or the prosecutor.

Warrant of arrest

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

Kushayb was transferred to the ICC's custody on 9 June 2020, after surrendering himself voluntarily in the Central African Republic.

On Friday 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.

In a press statement following Kushayb’s first court appearance, the ICC explained that the case against Kushayb (Abdelrahman) was severed from the case of Ahmad Haroun, as Haroun has not yet been surrendered to the court. “This is done with a view to protecting Mr Abdelrahman’s right to fair and expeditious proceedings and in the interest of judicial economy.”

The opening of the confirmation of charges hearing is scheduled provisionally for December 7.

Sudan government

In June, the Sudanese government welcomed the arrest of Kushayb and his transfer to the ICC in The Hague. It is willing to discuss the extradition of the remaining suspects.

As part of the Sudanese authorities’ pursuit of justice for victims of the war in Darfur, Information Minister Feisal Mohamed Saleh expressed in a statement the willingness of the Sudan government to discuss the extradition of the remaining suspects wanted by the ICC, namely former President Omar Al Bashir, his aide Abdelrahim Hussein, former Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs Ahmed Haroun, and former rebel leader Abdallah Banda.

Saleh further stated that Kushayb has been charged with a number of crimes by the Sudanese authorities as well.

* At his first appearance before the ICC on June 15, 2020, Ali Kushayb (as stated on the arrest warrants) insisted that he be referred to as Ali Abdelrahman. The judge ruled that the suspect will be referred to as such. In the ICC Prosecution’s request to postpone the 'confirmation of charges hearing' the accused is called Ali Mohamed Abdelrahman (“Ali Kushayb”).


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