KHARTOUM, 18 February 2021 – The trial on war crime charges of former militant leader, Ali Kushayb, is set to start at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

As a non-party to the Rome Treaty, the Sudanese government on Sunday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) committing to cooperate with the Prosecutor of the ICC in the trail.

Ali Kushayb - Photo Radio Dabanga

Ali Kushayb – Photo Radio Dabanga

The United Nations Security Council referred the war crimes charges in 2005 allowing the ICC to open an investigation into atrocity crimes which the United States later called “Genocide in Darfur”

Kushayb served as a top commander of the pro-government Janjaweed militias, which launched attacks on villages and towns across Darfur from 2003 to 2004.

He is charged with war crimes in the genocidal violence that was visited on the western region of Sudan.

The militia commander is implicated in more than 300 murders and for the burning down of the homes of over 40,000 mainly Fur civilians.

Janjaweed Pillaged, Murdered and Burnt Down - Photo The New Arab

Janjaweed Pillaged, Murdered and Burnt Down – Photo The New Arab

Kushayb, who is the first Sudanese to be charged by the ICC, was on the run ever since an arrest warrant was issued for him in 2007.

He turned himself in to United Nations peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR) last June and was shortly after taken into custody at The Hague, Netherlands.

Al-Bashir - Photo International Justice in the News

Al-Bashir – Photo International Justice in the News

The ICC has not said if the MoU allows other Sudanese citizens or officials accused of crimes in Darfur to be transferred to The Hague besides Kushyab.

Rights campaigners are particularly keen to find out if the MoU may have paved the way for former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to be transferred to The Hague.

Since 2009, the former Sudanese leader has been wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in Darfur.

The warrant issued for his arrest in 2009 was the very first ever issued against a sitting head-of-state.

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