Two Sudanese men have surrendered to the International Criminal Court [ICC] in the Hague, to answer to accusations of committing war crimes in Darfur, the court says.
“Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus, both suspected of having committed war crimes in Darfur, Sudan, arrived voluntarily this morning,” a court statement said on Wednesday.
“Both suspects will stay at the location assigned to them by the court until their first appearance before the chamber” on Thursday morning, after which they will be free to leave the Netherlands, pending further appearances.
The men face three counts of war crimes allegedly committed in an attack on the Haskanita military base in North Darfur on September 29, 2007, that killed 12 peaceeepers with the African Union Mission in Sudan (Amis) and injured eight more.
The attack was allegedly carried out by fighters from the Sudanese Liberation Army-Unity under the command of Jerbo, and splinter forces of the Justice and Equality Movement led by Banda.
“It is alleged that the attackers, numbering approximately 1,000, were armed with anti-aircraft guns, artillery guns and rocket propelled grenade launchers,” the court statement said.
The men allegedly destroyed Amis infrastructure and stole items like refrigerators, computers, mobile phones, vehicles, fuel, ammunition and money.
A pre-trial chamber had found reasonable grounds to believe that Banda and Jerbo were criminally responsible for murder, an intentional attack on peacekeepers, and pillaging, the statement said.
“This is the culmination of months of efforts to secure the co-operation of Mr Banda and Mr Jerbo,” Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the ICC prosecutor, said in a separate statement.
“The rebel commanders will now face justice,” said Moreno-Ocampo.
“Their attack on the camp caused the death of 12 people and worsened the plight of the thousands of civilians they came to help by leaving them without protection.”
A further hearing will be held “within a reasonable time” to confirm the charges against them, a requirement before the case can go to trial.
ICC judges have turned down a prosecution bid to prosecute Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, another rebel leader, over the Haskanita attack, finding insufficient evidence to link him to the killings.
He had also appeared before the ICC voluntarily.
The case is the fourth before the court involving alleged war crimes in Darfur.
Arrest warrants are outstanding for Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s president, Ahmed Haroun, a former government minister, and Ali Kosheib, a militia leader.
Al-Bashir rejects the jurisdiction of the ICC, the world’s only independent, permanent court with authority to try genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and has refused to hand over his two allies.
spotted by RS