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Kushyab is accused of 31 crimes as ICC prosecutor visits Darfur soon

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Ali Kushayb during the opening of the confirmation of charges hearing at the seat of the ICC in The Hague on 24 May 2021(ICC photo)May 24, 2021 (KHARTOUM) - The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, told the pre-trial court that a militia leader committed 31 crimes before announcing a visit to Darfur next week.

On Monday, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II held a hearing to confirm the charges against Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman ("Ali Kushayb"). During the three day sessions, the judges hear the oral submissions of the Prosecutor, lawyers the victims and the defence.

In her statement before the court, Bensouda said that Kushayb is charged with 31 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

"These include crimes of torture, rape and murder of civilians in the Wadi Salih and Mukjar Localities of West Darfur State, between at least August 2003 and at least April 2004," she added before to detail her charges against "the colonel of colonels".

During her submission, she said the evidence they have shows that he played a crucial role, leading attacks, committing murders, and ordering other murders.

She also cited some statement by the victims about the atrocities against civilians he personally committed in West Darfur state during the counterinsurgency campaign orchestrated by the al-Bashir regime.

The prosecutor spoke about the immense suffering he caused to the countless victims who are still in the IDPs camps.

"I stand here today in solidarity with the victims," she said before to add "We seek justice for the victims of rape, murder, torture and other crimes committed in Darfur".

She further expressed her readiness to present the needed evidence for the purposes of this confirmation of charges hearings.

Last year, the ICC prosecutor was in Khartoum to request the support of the Sudanese government for its teams to reach out to the victims and to collect evidence proving Kushyab involvement in the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.

Darfur visit

Bensouda who will terminate her term next June thanked the victims for their witnesses and the other groups or individuals who supported the prosecution in the investigations.

"I will be expressing this sincere sentiment when I visit Sudan, including Darfur next week in my last mission to the country as ICC Prosecutor," she stressed.

On 10 December 2020, she spoke for the first time before the UN Security Council about her personal desire to visit Darfur before the end of her nine-year mandate

I "hope to visit Darfur myself, to engage with victims and pay personal tribute to the courage, resilience and patience they have demonstrated since this Council’s referral first ignited their hopes for justice, 15 years ago," she said.

After her visit to Sudan, the prosecutor will make her last to the Security Council on the Darfur cases.

(ST)

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