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Darfur war crimes fugitive in ICC custody

ICC prosecutors say Kushayb was a senior commander in the notorious Janjaweed militia [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 June, 2020

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Ali Kushayb, also known as Ali Muhammad Ali Abd–Al-Rahman, is wanted on 50 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed between 2002-2004 in Sudan's western Darfur region.
Longtime fugitive militiaman Ali Kushayb has turned himself in to the International Criminal Court, where he is facing war crimes charges for his role in Sudan's Darfur conflict, the ICC announced Tuesday.

Kushayb, around 63, also known as Ali Muhammad Ali Abd–Al-Rahman, is wanted on 50 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed between 2002-2004 in Sudan's western Darfur region.

"Ali Kushayb is in the custody of the ICC after surrendering himself voluntarily in the Central African Republic on account of an ICC arrest warrant issued on 27 April 2007," the Hague-based court said in a statement.

ICC prosecutors say Kushayb was a senior commander in the notorious Janjaweed militia during the fighting, which erupted in 2003 when ethnic African rebels took up arms against Khartoum's then Arab-dominated government, lead by the now-ousted Omar al-Bashir.

The rebels say they suffered racial discrimination, marginalisation and exclusion in one of the country's poorest regions.

But Khartoum responded by unleashing the Janjaweed, a group of mostly Arab raiding nomads, recruited and armed to create a militia of gunmen who often mounted horses or camels.

They have been accused of applying a scorched earth policy against ethnic groups suspected of supporting the rebels, raping, killing, looting and burning villages.

Their terror campaign saw the ICC issue arrest warrants against Kushayb in 2007 and Bashir in 2009 and 2010.

Read also: Former Sudanese official, wanted by ICC, tests positive for coronavirus

About 300,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced in the conflict, the United Nations says.

Thousands of peacekeeping troops from a joint UN-African Union mission were deployed in 2007 to curb the conflict, but their numbers have been gradually reduced since mid-2018 as the conflict has subsided.

An independent tribunal, the ICC was set up in 2002 to deal with the world's worst crimes which also includes genocide.

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