SUDAN WATCH: Sudanese and Chadian civilians getting away with murder and war crimes against peacekeepers

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sudanese and Chadian civilians getting away with murder and war crimes against peacekeepers

The truth is stranger than fiction. In my neighbourhood here in England I have a civilian neighbour who has spent the past five years swanning around the neighbourhood with a machine gun and killing people.  His professed occupation is a self appointed gunman and killer.  After the media picked up on his story, he was reported to the police.  But nothing happened until several months later when he turned himself in at a police station.  The police took him to court and the court charged him with murder, directing murders and pillaging. He spoke only briefly during his short court appearance, to thank the court. He then left the court as a free man and returned to live in my neighbourhood. He has not been tagged nor banned from carrying or using guns.  There is nothing to stop him getting involved in further killings in my neighbourhood.  The police won't do anything.  All I can do is blog about it. Here is a true story:

Bahar Idriss Abu Garda

Photo: URF rebel group commander Bahar Idriss Abu Garda was summoned to appear before the ICC. (AFP/Getty Images)

Bahr Idriss Abu Garda spoke only briefly during his short court appearance at The Hague, to thank the court.

"We know how innocent he is. After the court, he will be freed. He will return to Darfur to continue his struggle," said Tadjadine Bechirniam, communications director for Garda.

Garda faces charges of murder, directing attacks on peacekeepers and pillaging.

From CNN dated Monday, May 18, 2009:
Rebel commander defiant over Sudan war crimes hearing
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Bahr Idriss Abu Garda faces charges in deaths of peacekeepers in 2007
12 killed when a soldiers stormed North Darfur African Union peacekeeping base
Abu Garda scheduled to appear at the pretrial hearing at 3 p.m. Monday [18 May 2009]
Three other suspects, including Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, are at large


A Sudanese rebel commander accused of responsibility for the deadliest attack on African Union peacekeepers in Darfur faced an International Criminal Court hearing Monday.

Sudanese rebel commander Bahar Idriss Abu Garda was summoned to appear before the ICC.

Bahr Idriss Abu Garda spoke only briefly during his short court appearance at The Hague, to thank the court.

Garda surrendered himself to the court voluntarily.

His spokesman said earlier he was not guilty and that he had come to The Hague to show an unwavering commitment to justice.

"We know how innocent he is. After the court, he will be freed. He will return to Darfur to continue his struggle," said Tadjadine Bechirniam, communications director for Garda.

Garda is charged with three war crimes allegedly committed in September 2007, when rebel-led soldiers stormed an African Union peacekeeping base in Haskanita, in northern Darfur. Twelve peacekeepers were killed and eight were wounded, in the deadliest single attack on African Union peacekeepers since they began their mission in late 2004.

Bechirniam said he could not speak about Garda's defense before the pre-trial hearing.

Garda faces charges of murder, directing attacks on peacekeepers and pillaging.

"There should be no immunity for anyone. We show our commitment to justice, to support justice for people in Darfur and Sudan," Bechirniam said in explaining why Garda is voluntarily appearing before the court. Garda believes in the court's independence, his spokesman said.

Three other suspects, including Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, also were summoned, but remain at large.

"The voluntary appearance of Abu Garda might serve to encourage other suspects currently at large to come before the court to be heard with all guarantees of a fair trial," said Silvana Arbia, registrar of the international court.

The attack on the African Union peacekeepers came months before the 7,000-strong force was replaced by a joint A.U./U.N. peacekeeping force of 26,000 troops.

The conflict in Darfur began in 2003 after rebels in the western region of Sudan began attacking government positions. Sudan's government responded with a fierce military campaign that has led to some 200,000 deaths and forced 2 million people to flee their homes, according to the United Nations.
Note, the above report describes rebel commander Bahar Idriss Abu Garda as being Sudanese. Some other reports refer to him as Chadian and that the URF rebel group he leads is Chadian.
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Quotation

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.
- Mark Twain
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Update: See Sudan Watch:

Monday, May 18, 2009 - Haskanita: Sudanese rebel leader Bahar Idriss Abu Garda appears at ICC

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - ICC charges URF Commander Bahar Idriss Abu Garda with murder, directing attacks and pillaging


Thursday, May 21, 2009 - A Sudanese rebel leader manipulates the ICC - URF's Abu Garda could be hiding a political ambition to "outdo his opponents"

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