Africa

Sudan: Darfur rebel leaders surrender to Hague court

Soldiers carry coffins during the burial in Abuja, Nigeria, of the soldiers killed in an African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur on 29 September 2007
Image caption Twelve Africa peacekeepers died in the attack on 29 September 2007

Two Darfur rebel leaders have surrendered to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The men, Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus, were secretly indicted last year.

They are wanted for war crimes in connection with the deaths of 12 African Union peacekeepers in 2007.

Earlier this year, charges against another rebel leader to do with the same attack were dropped because of lack of evidence.

ICC judges ruled prosecutors could not prove that Bahr Idriss Abu Garda, who also gave himself up voluntarily, had planned the attack on the Haskanita AU camp in September 2007.

Charges

In a statement, the ICC said the two suspects would face the following three war crimes charges when they appear before the chamber on Thursday:

  • Murder
  • Intentionally directing attacks against peacekeeping personnel
  • Stealing property

"It is alleged that the attackers, numbering approximately 1,000, were armed with anti-aircraft guns, artillery guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers," the statement said.

In January 2008, the UN took joint control of the peacekeeping force in Darfur with increased numbers and a stronger mandate.

Last year, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir was indicted on war crimes, which were the first issued by the ICC against a sitting president.

He strongly denies the charges - and his government says figures of those killed in the Darfur conflict have been massively exaggerated.

According to the UN, an estimated 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur and more than 2.6 million displaced since ethnic rebels took up arms in 2003.

A government minister and pro-government militia leader have also been indicted for alleged war crimes in Darfur.

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