The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor’s case against two Sudanese leaders for atrocities in Darfur is a first step in ending the impunity associated with horrific crimes there, Human Rights Watch said today.
Earlier today, the ICC prosecutor asked Pre-Trial Chamber I to issue summonses for two suspects to appear before the court. “The ICC prosecutor’s request sends a signal to Khartoum and ‘Janjaweed’ militia leaders that ultimately they are not going to get away with the unspeakable atrocities,” said Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watch’s International Justice program. “We urge the prosecutor to explain the significance of his action today to the communities devastated by crimes in Darfur.”
The prosecutor is seeking summonses for State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs Ahmed Haroun and “Janjaweed” militia leader “Ali Kosheib,” (a pseudonym for Ali Mohammed Ali). According to information previously collected by Human Rights Watch, Haroun is believed to have participated in official meetings in Darfur where he allegedly incited “Janjaweed” militia and army forces to attack specific ethnic groups.
“Ali Kosheib,” according to research carried out by Human Rights Watch, was one of the key leaders responsible for attacks on villages around Mukjar, Bindisi, and Garsila in 2003-2004 in West Darfur. As a result of the government-militia coordinated campaign in Darfur, civilians have suffered direct attacks from land and air, including summary execution, rape, torture, forced displacement on a massive scale, and the pillaging of their property.
In a December 2005 report entitled “Entrenching Impunity: Government responsibility for international crimes in Darfur” Human Rights Watch identified Haroun and “Ali Kosheib” as two of at least 22 individuals bearing responsibility for international crimes committed in Darfur.