As DWAG kicks off our Indictee Tracker campaign to hold the interim Sudanese government accountable to their promise to turn over Harun, al Bashir, and Hussein to the International Criminal Court (ICC), we want to remind our network of their charges and why the immediate transfer to ICC custody is essential to securing justice for Darfur.
The most time-sensitive case is that of Ahmad Muhammad Harun. Harun is charged with 20 counts of crimes against humanity including murder, persecution, the forcible transfer of population, rape, inhumane acts, imprisonment or severe deprivation of, and torture. He is also charged with 22 counts of war crimes including murder, attacks against the civilian population, destruction of property, rape, pillaging, and outrage upon personal dignity. His arrest warrant was issued on April 27, 2007 for crimes committed between at least August 2003 to March 2004. The attacks were carried out by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the janjaweed militia on West Darfur villages (Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar, and Arawala).
In his capacity as Minister of State for the Interior during 2003-2005, Harun leveraged the “Darfur Security Desk” against the people of Darfur. He also recruited, mobilised, funded and armed the janjaweed to attack in tandem with government forces (including local police, SAF, and intelligence agencies). After his tenure as Minister of State for the Interior, Harun served as Sudan’s Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, Governor of South Kordofan, and Governor of North Kordofan before being imprisoned in the aftermath of the 2019 coup.
Harun must be immediately turned over to the ICC so he may be tried alongside Ali Kushayb. Ali Kushayb was a former leader of janjaweed forces who worked directly with Harun to secure the janjaweed with the resources and security to perpetrate the Darfur genocide. He is currently in ICC custody and awaiting a confirmation of charges. 151 victims have been authorized to testify during his trial. However, as both leaders conspired to enable attacks on West Darfur, their victims are one in the same. They have waited too long to see justice. Until Harun and Ali Kushayb are tried together, accountability for the heinous attacks on Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar, and Arawala between August 2003 – March 2004 cannot be fully realized.
Former President of the Republic of Sudan Omar Hassan Ahmad al Bashir has been in Sudanese custody since ousted from power on April 11, 2019. Al Bashir was the first sitting president to be charged by the ICC on March 4, 2009 and then again on July 12, 2010 for crimes committed between at least March 2003 and July 14, 2008 across Darfur. Al Bashir is charged with five counts of crimes against humanity including murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture, and rape. He is also charged with two counts of war crimes including intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population and against innocent individual civilians, and pillaging. Lastly, al Bashir is charged with three counts of genocide by means of killing, by causing serious bodily or mental harm, and by deliberately inflicting on each target group conditions of life calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction. Such conditions of life include contaminating the water supply of entire communities, coordinating government forces and janjaweed militias to threaten villages, and preventing aid from reaching those in need.
President al Bashir launched a genocidal campaign against the Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa tribes for their perceived connection to opposition movements. The ICC charges him as a primary driver and implementer of the campaign in exercising full control of the government branches and janjaweed militias. Among his victims are thousands of murdered civilians, the rape of thousands of women, hundreds of thousands of civilians forcibly transferred. So far, 12 of these victims have been authorized to participate in the proceedings. DWAG strongly urges for the ICC to work with survivors and bring more victim testimony to the international court for justice after al Bashir is transferred to ICC custody.
Former Minister of National Defense Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein has also been in Sudanese custody since the aftermath of the 2019 coup. Hussein is charged with seven counts of crimes against humanity including persecution, murder, forcible transfer, rape, inhumane acts, imprisonment or severe deprivation of liberty, and torture. He is also charged with six counts of war crimes including murder, attacks against a civilian population, destruction of property, rape, pillaging, and outrage upon personal dignity. His arrest warrant was issued on March 1, 2012 for crimes committed between at least 2003 and 2004 across Darfur.
Hussein used his position as Minister of National Defense to coordinate government resources and armed forces to execute al Bashir’s genocidal campaign against Darfur. He actively recruited, armed, and funded local police and janjaweed alike to carry out civilian attacks against the people of Darfur. Hussein was instrumental in the attacks against the Fur populations of Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar, and Arawala. Prior to his tenure as Minister of National Defense, Hussein served as Minister of the Interior and Special Representative of the President in Darfur.
The people of Darfur have waited long enough to have their day in court and tell the world of the heinous crimes they endured. Darfur and the Two Areas continue to be plagued by violence and acts of genocide that were initially perpetrated and enabled by Harun, al Bashir, and Hussein. The interim government remains riddled with remnants of the previous administration intent on impeding the restoration of justice. The transfer of Harun, al Bashir, and Hussein is an essential step towards securing the confidence of the people of Darfur and fulfilling their promise of justice. The imprisonment of the indictees in Sudanese custody proves insufficient to the magnitude of their crimes. DWAG urges the interim government to keep their promise and immediately transfer the indictees to ICC custody. The interim government cannot waver in their commitment to serving Sudanese civilians, including and especially the diverse people of Darfur.