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Rebel leader to appear before Hague tribunal

Video by Sarah DRURY

Latest update : 2009-05-18

The leader of a Darfur rebel faction, Bahr Idriss Abu Garda (pictured), has been ordered to appear before the International Criminal Court on Monday for war crimes committed in Sudan, including an attack on African Union forces in 2007.

AFP - The leader of a Darfur rebel faction, Bahr Idriss Abu Garda, suspected of war crimes, has been ordered to appear here before the International Criminal Court, the court announced Sunday.
  
Abu Garda is set to appear for an initial hearing on Monday at 2:00 pm local time (1200 GMT), the ICC based in The Hague said in a statement.
  
"Abu Garda, member of the Zaghawa tribe of Sudan, is charged with three war crimes allegedly committed during an attack carried out on 29 September 2007 against the African Union mission in Sudan (AMIS)," the statement said.
  
Twelve AU peacekeepers were killed in the attack at Haskanita in north Darfur.
  
The court said the attack was allegedly carried out by splinter forces of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), under the command of Abu Garda, jointly with troops belonging to another armed group.
  
The court's pre-trial chamber had issued a summons for Abu Garda under seal on May 7 which was lifted on Sunday.
  
The judges said a summons rather than an arrest warrant was deemed sufficient since the prosecutor said the suspect had expressed a willingness to appear before the court.
  
On Monday, the court will read to Abu Garda the charges against him and his rights.
  
A subsequent confirmation hearing will then determine whether there are "substantial grounds to believe that he committed the crimes charged," the court said.
  
The ICC has been investigating alleged war crimes in Sudan's conflict-torn province of Darfur.
  
The court issued in March an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
  
Operating since July 2002, the ICC is the world's only permanent tribunal charged with judging suspects of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Date created : 2009-05-17

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