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The Prosecutor vs Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman

Following the particularly critical situation in Darfur, the then UN’s General Secretary Mr. Kofi Annan set up an international committee to investigate the alleged breaches of humanitarian law in the country. In its final report issued on January 2005, the body concluded that crimes against humanity and crimes of war had been committed and recommended that the case be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Exercising its power under the Rome Statute, the UN Security Council seized the ICC by way of Resolution 1593 of March 31st, 2005. The judicial opened an investigation into the alleged facts starting July 01st, 2002. In its final report, the ICC notably concluded that there were grounds for believing that Mr. Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, a citizen of Sudanese nationality, had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.

According to the report submitted, he took an active part in the armed conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and janjaweed / militiamen against organized armed rebel movements (notably the Sudan Liberation Movement / Army and the Movement for the Justice and Equality). Indeed, as a presumed tribal leader and member of the Popular Defence Forces (PDF), he allegedly orchestrated and participated between August 2003 and March 2004 in the policy of generalized and systematic attacks against civilian populations perceived as being associated with the rebels in the locality of Wadi Salih. The targets of these attacks were generally individuals belonging to the Four, Zaghawa and Massalit tribes.

The report further specifies that on the morning of March 5th, 2004, members of the SAF and militiamen would have arrested more than 100 men belonging to the Four tribe in Deleig and that Colonel Abd-Al-Rahman would have personally decided who to release and who to keep. The captives were reportedly subsequently executed. The same events would have happened again, two days later, on March 07th, 2004.

The ICC Chamber argues that these actions could be characterized as:

  • Crimes against humanity within the meaning of article 7-1-a of the Rome Statute;
  • War crimes within the meaning of Article 8-2-c-i of the Rome Statute;
  • Inhumane acts within the meaning of article 7-1-k of the Rome Statute;

It further contends that in view of the foregoing, Mr. Abd-Al-Rahman could be held criminally liable:

  • As the direct perpetrator, indirect perpetrator or indirect co-perpetrator of the crimes mentioned above (article 25-3-a of the Rome Statute);
  • For ordering the commission of these acts (article 25-3-b of the Rome Statute);
  • For having contributed to their commission (article 25-3-d of the Rome Statute);
  • As a military leader or person acting as a military leader (article 28-a).

The Chamber of the International Criminal Court issued a first arrest warrant on April 27th, 2007, which had no effect. Thirteen years later, a second warrant was issued in June 2020. Mr. Abd-Al-Rahman surrendered voluntarily to the ICC on June 9th and was presented before the court on June 15th. The hearing on the confirmation of charges took place between May 24th and 26,th 2021 and the 31 counts presented by the Prosecutor’s office were confirmed on July 21st, 2021. In the same decision, the judges who will participate in the trial were chosen.

On September 08th, 2021, Chamber I informed the parties and the public that the trial would start on April 05th, 2022.

This summary of the facts of this case and the proceedings is only proposed for informational purposes, does not engage Dome in any way and cannot replace the careful reading of the judgments and orders of the case.