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Ali Mohammed Ali, known as Ali Kosheib or Kushayb, in The Hague, Netherlands. during the opening of his confirmation hearing on charges for crimes in Darfur, Sudan.  © 2021 ICC-CPI

(The Hague) – The International Criminal Court’s trial of Ali Kosheib, or Kushayb, will open on April 5, 2022, and offers the first opportunity to see a leader face prosecution for massive crimes committed in Darfur nearly 20 years ago, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch issued a question-and-answer document and a video ahead of the trial.  

“Kosheib’s trial is a long-awaited chance for victims and communities terrorized by the notorious Janjaweed militia and government forces in Darfur to see a leader held to account,” said Elise Keppler, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch. “In the face of steep odds and no other credible options, the ICC is serving as the crucial court of last resort for Darfuris.”

The video focuses on the significance of the trial and on what else is needed by the Sudanese authorities for justice for atrocities committed in Darfur. The question-and-answer document covers:

  • Background on the accused, the Janjaweed militia group, and the conflict in Darfur,
  • How the trial will proceed and the participation of victims in the proceedings,
  • The significance of the trial and efforts to make it accessible to local communities,
  • Needed steps by Sudanese authorities to surrender former president Omar al-Bashir and three other fugitives, and
  • The current situation in Darfur and Sudan, including continued abuses.

“For all these years, those implicated in serious crimes and other abuses in Darfur and Sudan have largely suffered no consequences – and in some instances, have even been rewarded,” Keppler said. “Would-be abusers should take note that they can end up in court even if it is slow going. Now, Sudanese authorities should surrender the remaining fugitives, including former president Omar al-Bashir, so victims have the opportunity to also see them held to account.”

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