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Thursday, November 30, 2023

An alleged Darfur militia chief was merely ‘a pharmacist,’ protection legal professionals inform a conflict crimes court docket

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Protection legal professionals informed the Worldwide Prison Courtroom on Thursday that their consumer was not a Sudanese militia chief who had participated in conflict crimes, however slightly “a nobody” who had no involvement within the ongoing battle within the nation.

Prosecutors say Ali Mohammed Ali Abdul Rahman Ali is best often called Ali Kushayb, a frontrunner of the Janjaweed militia. He has denied 31 counts of conflict crimes and crimes towards humanity in what the protection claims is a case of mistaken identification.

“The person sitting behind me was completely a no-one,” protection legal professional Cyril Laucci informed The Hague-based court docket in his opening presentation.

Laucci says his consumer was working as a pharmacist at a market in a distant a part of the Darfur area of Sudan throughout the battle, which started in 2003, leaving some 300,000 individuals {dead} and driving 2.7 million from their properties.

Violence erupted when rebels from the territory’s ethnic central and sub-Saharan African neighborhood launched an insurgency, complaining of oppression by the Arab-dominated authorities within the capital, Khartoum. The federal government responded with a scorched-earth marketing campaign of aerial bombings, and unleashed militias often called the Janjaweed, who’re accused of mass killings and rapes.

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Prosecutors declare the defendant was a senior commander within the Janjaweed militias from 2003-2004, appearing as a go-between for the militia and the Sudanese authorities. In keeping with the indictment, he even participated in some assaults towards civilians.

“You will notice that he took satisfaction within the energy that he thought he exerted and the authority that he had,” ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan informed the court docket when the trial opened in April of final yr.

Abdul Rahman surrendered to authorities within the Central African Republic, close to the border with Sudan, in 2020. In his first look on the ICC that very same yr, he stated the costs towards him have been “unfaithful.” He faces a most sentence of life imprisonment if convicted.

The battle in Darfur is the primary investigation despatched to the court docket by the United Nations Safety Council and the defendant, now 74, is the primary individual from Sudan to go on trial. Sudan is just not a celebration to the Rome Statute that created the ICC in 2002.

Earlier within the trial, judges heard from 56 witnesses who described horrific violence and the usage of rape as a weapon to terrorize and humiliate ladies. Throughout one bloodbath, Abdul Rahman allegedly informed fighters: “Repeat, repeat for these individuals. Perhaps there are some that you’ve got missed,” in accordance with one witness.

In July, Khan informed the U.N. Safety Council that his workplace was trying into attainable new crimes after renewed violence erupted in Darfur.

The court docket has additionally issued arrest warrants for former President Omar al-Bashir, who’s accused of genocide; former protection minister Abdel Raheem Hussein; and former inside minister and governor Ahmad Harun. All three males are at the moment detained in Sudan, which has refused at hand them over to the court docket.

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