Darfuri victims of Sudanese militia leader seek justice before the International Criminal Court
Amal Clooney represents 126 Darfuri victims of a Sudanese militia leader charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court held a hearing last week to determine whether Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, also known as ‘Ali Kushayb’, should face trial for 31 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity in West Darfur, Sudan, in 2003 and 2004.
Ms Clooney, a Legal Representative for the Victims in the case, conveyed the victims’ support for the confirmation of the charges presented by the prosecution, concluding that she stood with victims ‘in their march for justice’ and that the Court should ‘allow this trial to go ahead'. She also called for additional crimes to be investigated, including rape allegedly committed by Mr Abd-Al-Rahman himself against her clients as well as additional crimes committed by the Janjaweed militia he commanded in Darfur. And she argued that there was an ‘empty chair’ where former President Bashir should have been sitting alongside the suspect in court.
At the end of the hearing, Ms Clooney noted that the Prosecutor had agreed to carry out additional investigations, with a view to expanding the charges, one of the ‘most important’ requests made on behalf of her clients during the hearing. And she responded to defence arguments that the Prosecutor had charged the wrong man, concluding ‘on behalf of the courageous victims in this case and on behalf of all the victims of the Bashir regime and its Janjaweed allies’ that the trial should proceed.
The Court is expected to rule on the confirmation of the charges by the end of July.
Mr Abd-Al-Rahman was a senior leader of the Janjaweed militia. The crimes he is charged with are alleged to have been carried out in furtherance of a state policy to attack the predominantly Fur civilian population in West Darfur and include acts of murder, rape and the destruction of villages. They are said to have formed part of a campaign by Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir almost 20 years ago against the population of Darfur that killed 300,000 civilians and displaced over 2 million others.
The International Criminal Court first issued an arrest warrant against Mr Abd-Al-Rahman in 2007. He has been detained in The Hague since June 2020. At the ICC, victims have the right to participate in a case and be represented by a lawyer for this purpose. Ms Clooney represents 126 victims who have been admitted to participate in the case.