International Criminal Court officials meet Sudanese refugees in Chad

3 May 2007

Following this week’s arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against suspects wanted in connection with the violence in Sudan’s Darfur region, ICC officials are conducting a three-day visit to refugee camps in eastern Chad to explain their work to some of the estimated 2 million people who have fled there.

The ICC Registrar Bruno Cathala and the Head of the Division of Victims and Counsel Didier Preira arrived in eastern Chad yesterday to talk with refugee representatives in three camps, the Court said in a press release.

Those camps, at Bredjing, Farchana and Treguine, are together home to about 65,000 people who are part of the vast population of Sudanese displaced by the conflict that has raged in Darfur since 2003.

During the visit, which is part of the Court’s outreach strategy on Darfur, Mr. Cathala and Mr. Preira will focus on the rights of victims to participate in ICC proceedings, including in presenting their views and concerns at all stages, regardless of whether they are called to testify as witnesses.

Yesterday, one of the ICC’s pre-trial chambers issued arrest warrants for crimes against humanity and war crimes for two men after endorsing the evidence found during an investigation by Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo into the situation in Darfur.

Ahmad Muhammad Harun, former Minister of State for the Interior of the Government of Sudan and currently Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, and Janjaweed militia leader Ali Muhammad Al Abd-Al-Rahman, also known as Ali Kushayb, now face arrest.

The two men are accused of targeting civilians in attacks on four villages in West Darfur between August 2003 and March 2004, according to the warrant that outlines multiple counts of personal responsibility for murder, pillaging and rape for each.