SUDAN WATCH: ICC Haskanita Darfur Sudan: United Resistance Front (URF) leader Bahar Idriss Abu Garda will not be tried

Monday, February 08, 2010

ICC Haskanita Darfur Sudan: United Resistance Front (URF) leader Bahar Idriss Abu Garda will not be tried

International Criminal Court Headquarters in The Hague

Photo: International Criminal Court Headquarters in The Hague

Darfur rebel chief not to be tried by International Criminal Court
Report from RNW - Radio Netherlands Worldwide
Published on: 08 February 2010 - 5:58pm
By Thijs Bouwknegt (ICC-CPI)
Darfur rebel chief Bahar Idriss Abu Garda will not stand trial for the killing of 12 African Union peacekeepers in 2007, the International Criminal Court ruled on Monday.

The Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court was not satisfied that there was sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that Bahar Idriss Abu Garda could be held criminally responsible either as a direct or as an indirect co-perpetrator for the commission of the crimes with which he was charged by the Prosecution.

Abu Garda was charged with three war crimes, namely violence to life, intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units and vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission, and pillaging, allegedly committed during an attack carried out on 29 September, 2007, against the African Union Mission in Sudan (“AMIS”), a peace-keeping mission stationed at the Haskanita Military Group Site (“MGS Haskanita”), in the locality of Umm Kadada, North Darfur.

The judges stressed that the case was of sufficient gravity as the consequences of the attack had affected not only the AMIS personnel and their families, but also the local population as AMIS, involved in a peacekeeping mission, established under the auspices of the African Union, first suspended, and finally reduced its activities in the area.

The Chamber also found that there were substantial grounds to believe that AMIS personnel and installations, material, units and vehicles stationed at the MGS Haskanita were entitled to protection given to civilians and to civilian objects under the international law of armed conflicts. The Chamber found, however, that the Prosecution’s allegations that Abu Garda participated in the alleged common plan to attack MGS Haskanita were not supported by sufficient evidence.

The Chamber’s decision was taken by unanimity, and one judge filed a separate opinion. The decision does not preclude the Prosecution from subsequently requesting the confirmation of the charges against Abu Garda if such request is supported by additional evidence. The Prosecution can also submit a request to Pre-Trial chamber I for leave to appeal the decision on the confirmation of charges.

Background information
On 18 May, 2009, Bahar Idriss Abu Garda appeared for the first time before the Court, in compliance with a summons issued under seal by Pre-Trial Chamber I on 7 May, and unsealed on 17 May. The confirmation of charges hearing in the case of The Prosecutor v. Bahar Idriss Abu Garda was held from 19 to 30 October, 2009.

The situation in Darfur was referred to the International Criminal Court by the United Nations Security Council’s resolution 1593, on 31 March, 2005. Three warrants of arrest have been issued by Pre-Trial Chamber I for Ahmad Harun, Ali Kushayb and Omar Al Bashir for crimes against humanity and war crimes. The three suspects remain at large.

(ICC)
[end of copy from RNW]

Related reports

From BBC News at 17:32 GMT, Mon, 08 Feb 2010: Darfur rebel Abu Garda will not face ICC charges - War crimes charges against a Darfur rebel leader have been dropped by International Criminal Court judges.

From The New York Times by The Associated Press, (THE HAGUE, Netherlands) 12:28 p.m. ET, Mon, Feb 08, 2010: International Court Dismisses Case of Darfur Rebel - International war crimes judges dismissed the case against a Sudanese rebel leader Monday, ruling that prosecutors failed to provide enough evidence to put him on trial for the deaths of international peacekeepers.

From Reuters Africa Mon, Feb 08, 2010 5:09pm GMT: Hague court dismisses charges against Sudan rebel - The war crimes court threw out the charges against Abu Garda, after the pre-trial chamber ruled that he could not be held criminally responsible for the attack. "The chamber declines to confirm the charges against Mr Abu Garda," the court said, but added the prosecution was still able to submit fresh evidence in a bid to have the charges upheld. The ICC's Office of the Prosecutor could not immediately comment on the ruling.

From Middle East Online, Mon, Feb 08, 2010: No war crimes trial for Darfur rebel chief - "The prosecution's allegations that Abu Garda participated in the alleged common plan to attack Haskanita were not supported by sufficient evidence," said the ICC ruling.

From Voice of America News, Mon, Feb 08, 2010: ICC Throws Out Charges Against Sudan Rebel Leader - The panel said it was "not satisfied" there was sufficient evidence to prosecute Abu Garda, either as a direct or indirect co-perpetrator of the attack. ICC prosecutors can ask the panel to reinstate the charges if they find additional evidence.

From UN News Centre, Mon, Feb 08, 2010: ICC dismisses charges against Darfurian rebel leader for lack of evidence - The Court noted that today’s decision does not preclude the prosecution from subsequently requesting the confirmation of the charges against Mr. Abu Garda “if such request is supported by additional evidence,” or appealing the decision on the confirmation of charges. The ICC is an independent, permanent court that investigates and prosecutes individuals accused of the most serious crimes of international concerns, such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Prosecutors at the Court are currently probing events in four regions or countries: Darfur, northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR).

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