Witnesses testify against Darfur janjaweed leader Ali Kushayb in ICC trial
June 9 – 2022 THE HAGUE, The proceedings of former Darfur janjaweed leader, Ali Muhammad Ali Abdelrahman (known as ‘Ali Kushayb’), who has been accused of 31 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity between 2003 and at least 2004, continued as witnesses gave their testimonies in the Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, the Netherlands on Monday.
The prosecution brought forth compelling witness testimonies to support the allegations against *Abdelrahman. The court heard from the expert witness and Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation, Professor Alex de Waal, who answered questions about his report on Darfur and presented his accounts of the region.
Professor de Waal stated that during his time in Darfur in the early 2000s, he observed a huge discrepancy in inequality between Khartoum and Darfur. According to de Wall’s experiences, the infrastructure of most small towns in Darfur were in such disarray, that it would be rare to find a clinic, and in half those cases, “the clinic would have lost its roof”.
He also stated that Darfur was extremely rudimentary in comparison with the many places he had travelled to in Africa, saying that he was shocked and had “never seen a place with such low levels of health care and education”.
In turn, the defence council asked de Waal more details about the conflict in Darfur, particularly about the years 2001 and 2002, which was a time when the conflict deepened in Darfur.
The defence were particularly interested in de Waal’s explanation of the Arab and inter-tribal components of the conflict in Sudan.
‘…It’s common knowledge, those (janjaweed) are the tribes that killed people’ – Witness P0712, unamed witness in Kushayb trial.
The Trial Chamber also granted protective measures to some of the witnesses, such as in the case of one of the factual witnesses under the pseudonym, Witness P0712, who had their voice and image disguised, as well as having their testimony heard from a private location.
Witness P0712 spoke of attacks on villages they were in and described, burning, looting, and arrests, identifying the perpetrators of the attacks as the janjaweed.
P0712 explained the meaning of the word janjaweed, saying that they are a “group of people from Arab tribes who ride on horseback, own weapons, and kill people from different tribes”. He went on to list different examples of janjaweed atrocities in Darfur, explaining how they “pillaged and burnt down villages”.
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