With overthrow of the regime of Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir in April 2019 came the hope of long-delayed justice for the people in Sudan’s western territory of Darfur. A 2003 uprising was met with extreme brutality by the government-aligned Janjaweed militia. Sudanese troops and police were also involved. As a result, some 300,000 people died and another 2.7 million were forced out of their homes.
Two years ago, the new government promised that Sudan will honor its commitments to deliver justice for the victims in Darfur, a promise that was delayed by a military takeover of the government last October.
Nonetheless, in April the International Criminal Court in The Hague put on trial former senior commander of the Janjaweed Ali Mohammed Ali Abd-al Rahman, better known as A li Kushayb. He is facing 31 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The on-going trial has been a long time coming, and victims of the Janjaweed militia are telling their stories and awaiting justice.
“At the heart of the case against Abd-al Rahman is the testimony of dozens of witnesses, many of whom still live in Darfur,” said Deputy U.S. Representative to the United Nations Richard Mills.
“Over the last several months, many of these witnesses – many of them are survivors of violence – have traveled thousands of miles to The Hague to tell their stories in their own words.”
Former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and others implicated in the commission of atrocities in Darfur have also been charged and are awaiting trial. “Sudanese authorities have facilitated visits by the Prosecutor and his staff and taken other recent steps to provide some assistance to their investigations in Darfur, which is very welcome news,” said Ambassador Mills. “We strongly urge authorities to continue to comply with their [domestic and] international legal obligations … and cooperate with the ICC [to give justice to the Darfuris].”
“Sudanese authorities must continue to permit ICC teams to travel within the country and cooperate with requests for evidence and other information and assistance, including through unimpeded access to key witnesses and to facilitate an enhanced ICC field presence.”
“Those who are subject to arrest warrants by the ICC must face justice and be transferred to face trial,” said Ambassador Mills. “The United States will continue to stand by the Sudanese people in support of the ICC’s efforts to advance accountability.”