Saturday, October 25, 2008

Indicted over Darfur, Sudan's President Feints and Punches Back

Ever since the International Criminal Court began pursuing allegations of war crimes in Darfur in 2005, its investigators have pursued a government-backed militia leader known as "the colonel of colonels." Ali Muhammad Ali Abd Al Rahman — a.k.a. Ali Kushayb — was high in the pantheon of the Janjaweed militia when a warrant was finally issued for his arrest in February 2007. Investigators said he led raids that left hundreds dead and countless homes destroyed. According to one witness, Ali Kushayb once inspected a line of naked women just before they were raped by his men. There were critical grumblings that the Sudanese government was coddling him: Ali Kushayb had been detained before but had been released for lack of evidence.

So it was more than a surprise when Khartoum announced last week that it had, in fact, been holding Ali Kushayb for several months and that he would be put on trial. "The timing of this particular claim about an arrest is certainly interesting," says Christopher Hall, head of Amnesty International's International Justice Project. Sudan claims that the investigation into Kushayb gained speed after a special prosecutor was appointed in August. But Hall and many others suspect that Ali Kushayb's trial — if it ever happens — is just the Sudanese government's latest gambit in what has become a full-blown campaign to derail the International Criminal Court's investigation into its own complicity in charges of genocide in Darfur. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>

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