Dozens of Sudanese soldiers, some high-ranking officers, are in The Hague to testify before the ICC
Photo: The International Criminal Court in The Hague
November 21, 2008 Radio Netherlands report by Mohammed Abdulrahman - Sudanese officers to testify at ICC. Excerpt:
Dozens of Sudanese soldiers, some of them high-ranking officers, are in The Hague to testify before the International Criminal Court. Radio Netherlands Worldwide learned of the soldiers' role in the trial from a well-informed source today.- - -
The court is trying Sudan's government and rebel leaders on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, including the bombing of civilians.
Relatives of the witnesses have also been taken to The Hague to protect them against possible retaliation by the Sudanese government. ICC officials declined to comment on the matter, saying this would violate the court's commitment to protect witnesses and victims.
Three rebel leaders were also declared wanted by the ICC on Thursday. They are accused of war crimes in relation to an attack on an African Union peacekeeping base in Haskanita, Darfur, which killed 12 peacekeepers. The prosecutor claims he has information on the identity of the rebel commanders who were allegedly responsible. He is soon to present the evidence in court.
November 20, 2008 (AFP) report via France 24.com - ICC prosecutor seeks warrants for Darfur rebel leaders , Excerpt:
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court asked judges Thursday to issue arrest warrants for three rebel commanders over a deadly attack on African peacekeepers in Sudan's Darfur region in 2007.
"I will not let such attacks go unpunished," said Luis Moreno-Ocampo of the incident, in which 12 African peacekeepers were killed and eight wounded.
Moreno-Ocampo made the comments in a statement issued after he presented his case to judges of the ICC in The Hague.
"There are reasonable grounds to believe that these rebel commanders bear criminal responsibility ... for murder, intentionally directing attacks against personnel and objects involved in a peacekeeping mission and pillaging."
Moreno-Ocampo is seeking warrants for an attack, blamed on rebel groups, on African Union (AMIS) peacekeepers in Haskanita, southern Darfur, on September 29, 2007.
It claimed the lives of seven peacekeepers from Nigeria, and one each from Senegal, Mali and Botswana. The identities of two others were never released.
"The individuals against whom the arrest warrants are sought were commanders of rebel groups in Darfur that carried out the attack," said Moreno-Ocampo.
"As commanders, they planned and directed the attack. They commanded forces of around 1,000 men in a convoy of approximately 30 vehicles mounted with heavy weapons to attack AMIS peacekeepers."
The prosecutor would not divulge the names of the rebel leaders or that of their militia groups.
"This is confidential information, because we assess that the best way to ensure they appear before the court is to keep their names confidential for a while," he told AFP.
"Many rebel leaders have said that if the court calls them they will appear. While the judges decide on the warrants, they now have the chance to appear on their own accord. They know who they are."
Photo: Nigerian soldiers bury their colleagues who were killed whilst serving on an African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission to Darfur in 2007. The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court's prosecutor has asked judges to issue arrest warrants for three rebel commanders blamed for killing 12 AU peacekeepers in 2007. (AFP Pius Utomi Ekpei)