Janjaweed leader wanted by the ICC will be tried in Sudan 14 Oct 2008
Sudanese government officials revealed that Ali Kushayb, a Janjaweed militia leader charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes by the ICC, is in police custody and will face trial in Sudan.


Burning of a village in Darfur, SudanSudanese Justice Minister Adbel Sabderat revealed on Tuesday 14 October that Ali Muhammad Al Abd-Al-Rahman, aka Ali Kushayb, one of the most senior militia leaders operating in Darfur, had been taken into Sudanese custody. Abdel Sabderat reiterated that Sudan would conduct its own trial, despite the International Criminal Court (ICC) having issued an arrest warrant for Ali Kushayb in April 2007.


According to Abdel Daim Zumrawi, Sudanese Deputy Justice Minister, Sudanese prosecutors have finished gathering evidence against Ali Kushayb for the crimes of killing and looting. Despite revisions last year, the Sudanese criminal code does not include charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes.


Ali Kushayb is considered to be one of the most senior leaders in the Janjaweed and a member of the Popular Defence Force. He was regarded as a “mediator” between the leaders of the Janjaweed and the government of Sudan. In April 2007, the ICC issued a warrant for the arrest of Ali Kushayb for alleged crimes committed in Darfur. According to the Prosecutor's evidence, Ali Kushayb issued orders to militia members and the armed forces to persecute civilian populations through mass rape, killings, torture, inhumane acts, pillaging and looting of residences and marketplaces, and other alleged criminal acts. He is charged with at least 22 counts of crimes against humanity and 28 counts of war crimes.


The government of Sudan has refused to cooperate with the ICC, denying its jurisdiction over the situation in Darfur, which was referred to the ICC Prosecutor by the Security Council in March 2005. Since then, another government official, the current Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, Ahmad Harun, has been charged with crimes against humanity in Darfur by the ICC Prosecutor.


In July 2008, the ICC Prosecutor’s request for the issuance of an arrest warrant against Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, the sitting President of Sudan, for genocide in Dafur produced heated debate within the international community. The Sudanese government has denied links with the militia allegedly committing atrocities in Darfur, and asserted that it would conduct its own investigations and trials if necessary. Given the contentious relationship between Sudan and the ICC, bringing Ali Kushayb before Sudanese courts is widely seen as a tactic of the government of Sudan to delay or stop ICC proceedings against its officials.


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