The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today requested an arrest warrant against Sudanese Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur.
According to a news release issued by the court, the evidence led the prosecutor to conclude that Mr. Hussein is one of those who bears the greatest criminal responsibility for the same crimes and incidents presented in previous warrants of arrest for government minister Ahmed Harun and Janjaweed leader Ali Kushayb, both of whom have been indicted by the court.
The alleged crimes that Mr. Hussein is allegedly responsible for were perpetrated during attacks on the towns and villages of Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar and Arawala in the Wadi Salih and Mukjar localities of West Darfur from August 2003 to March 2004.
The attacks followed a common pattern: Sudanese Government forces surrounded the villages, the Air Force dropped bombs indiscriminately and foot soldiers, including militia or Janjaweed, killed, raped and looted the entire village, forcing the displacement of four million inhabitants. Currently, 2.5 million people remain internally displaced.
At that time Mr. Hussein was the Sudanese Minister for the Interior as well as Special Representative of the President in Darfur, with all of the powers and responsibilities of the President. He delegated some of his responsibilities to Mr. Harun, the Minister of State for the Interior, whom he appointed to head the “Darfur Security Desk.”
In the case against Mr. Harun and Mr. Kushayb, the pre-trial chamber ruled that local security committees coordinated these attacks. They were supervised by state security committees, which reported to Mr. Harun, who in turn, according to the evidence, reported to Mr. Hussein.
“The evidence shows that this was a State policy supervised by Mr. Hussein to ensure the coordination of attacks against civilians,” said Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.
“Moreover, the evidence shows that directly and through Mr. Harun, Mr. Hussein played a central role in coordinating the crimes, including in recruiting, mobilizing, funding, arming, training and the deployment of the militia/Janjaweed as part of the Government of the Sudan forces, with the knowledge that these forces would commit the crimes,” he stated.
The Prosecutor believes that Mr. Hussein should be arrested to prevent him from continuing to commit crimes within the jurisdiction of the court.
This is the ICC’s fourth case in Darfur, which the Security Council referred to it in 2005 after a UN inquiry found serious violations of international human rights law. In addition to Mr. Harun and Mr. Kushayb, ICC judges have issued arrest warrants against Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and summonses to appear for rebel leaders Abdallah Banda, Saleh Jerbo and Abu Garda for war crimes.