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Gauging the Merits of Darfur’s Gruesome History

The International Criminal Court Prosecutor opened a hearing of evidence on Monday against Ali Kushayb, an alleged leader of the notorious Janjaweed militia blamed for atrocities in Darfur, calling him a “willing and energetic” perpetrator of crimes in the conflict-torn region of Sudan in 2003-2004. Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s comments came at the start of the first presentation at the global court of evidence against a suspect charged with involvement in crimes by the Janjaweed militia in Darfur. “It is my great privilege to be present here today when finally one of the suspects in the Darfur situation is before this court to face independent and impartial justice,” Bensouda said. “Let me express my sincere respect and admiration for the courage, patience and resilience of the Darfur victims who have waited for so long for this day to arrive.” Ali Mohammed Ali Abdul Rahman Ali, known as Ali Kushayb or Abd-Al-Rahman, is charged with a total of 31 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes dating back to the deadly Darfur conflict in 2003 and 2004 including murder, rape, torture and persecution. Monday’s hearing is not a trial. Instead, it is intended to establish whether evidence against Kushayb is strong enough to merit putting him on trial at the global court. A decision is expected later this year.