Abd-Al-Rahman, 72, was a senior commander of the Janjaweed militia – a notorious armed group created by the Sudanese government. He is believed to have led a campaign of murder, rape and torture across Darfur. Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, an ally of deposed Sudanese strongman Omar al-Bashir, faces 31 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the conflict almost 20 years ago.
On 5 April 2022, the trial in the case The Prosecutor v. Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman (“Ali Kushayb”) opened before Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “the Court”), composed of Judge Joanna Korner, Presiding Judge, Judge Reine Alapini-Gansou and Judge Althea Violet Alexis-Windsor. Mr Abd-Al-Rahman is accused of 31 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Darfur, Sudan, between August 2003 and at least April 2004.
The trial started with the reading of the charges against Mr Abd-Al-Rahman. The Chamber was satisfied that the accused understood the nature of the charges. The accused plead not-guilty to all the charges. Mr Abd-Al-Rahman is represented by Principal Counsel Cyril Laucci and Associate Counsel Iain Edwards.
The Court’s Prosecutor Karim AA Khan QC and Senior Trial Lawyer Julian Nicholls took the floor for opening statements. This will be followed by a short unsworn statement by the accused and a short remark presented by the Legal Representatives of Victims, lawyers Natalie von Wistinghausen, Nasser Mohamed Amin Abdalla and Anand Shah.
The first expert witness is scheduled to start testifying on 6 April 2022.
Background: Mr Abd-Al-Rahman was transferred to the ICC’s custody on 9 June 2020, after surrendering himself voluntarily in the Central African Republic. His initial appearance before the ICC took place on 15 June 2020. The confirmation of charges hearing was held before Pre-Trial Chamber II from 24 to 26 May 2021. On 9 July 2021, Pre-Trial Chamber II unanimously, issued a decision confirming all the charges brought by the Prosecutor against Mr Abd-Al-Rahman and committed him to trial before a Trial Chamber. The 31 charges include intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such, as a war crime; murder as a crime against humanity and as a war crime; pillaging as a war crime; destruction of the property of an adversary as a war crime; other inhumane acts as a crime against humanity; outrages upon personal dignity as a war crime; rape as a crime against humanity and a war crime; forcible transfer as a crime against humanity; persecution as a crime against humanity; torture as a crime against humanity and a war crime; cruel treatment as a war crime; attempted murder as a crime against humanity and a war crime.