Seeking Justice and Accountability for Darfur – The Arrest of Ali Kushayb

Darfur Women Action Group is pleased to announce the news that Ali Kushayb, former Janjaweed captain and current ICC indictee, has voluntarily surrendered to authorities in the Central African Republic (CAR). While Kushayb’s arrest is a welcomed step for the survivors and victims of the genocide in Darfur, it is still too little and too late in achieving full justice and accountability. We must continue to pressure those in power to take serious steps in securing full access for an ICC investigation and trial, in arresting the remaining perpetrators at large, and in providing adequate security for genocide victims still in IDP camps to ensure that the crisis in Darfur does not repeat itself again.


Ali Kushayb originally participated in the Darfur genocide starting from 2003. He served as a leader of the Janjaweed militia and both commanded and participant in carrying -on horrific attacks upon unarmed men, women, and children. The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Kushayb in 2007, and he was charged with 22 counts of crimes against humanity and 28 counts of war crimes. This includes 504 instances of murder, 20 rapes, and the forced displacement of 41,000 people. This is not to mention the countless other instances of sexual violence, torture, and pillaging that him and his soldiers were also responsible for. Kushayb and his men remained in and out of custody in Sudan over the past 17 years, continuing to cause violence and insurrection in their path.


Earlier this year, in February 2020, Kushayb and his armed supporters reappeared in several skirmishes with the Sudanese Armed Forces based in South Darfur. He eventually escaped via Darfur’s southern border, crossing over to the CAR. There, his militia was pinned down and forced to surrender by a combination of CAR’s security forces and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). Our hope is him soon joined by former Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir and his former co-conspirators in the Darfur genocide Ahmed Haroun and Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein to face trial at the ICC.


DWAG calls on the Interim Government of Sudan, the ICC, the member states of the ICC and the UNSC to exercise due diligence in ensuring that Kushayb, alongside other war criminals in Sudan, sees trial for their crimes. Bashir, Ahmed Haroun, and Abdelrahim must be promptly handed over to the Hague and brought to trial with the support of the international community. They must face the consequences for their actions under the law. In doing so, a strong commitment must be made in ending the culture of impunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as in showing the countless victims and survivors in Darfur that they will receive justice and that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are held responsible for their actions. Pursuing justice is extremely important not only for punishing perpetrators but also for ensuring that the genocide and crisis in Darfur must never happen again.


DWAG also calls on the UN Security Council and individual state parties to the Rome Statue to recognize the role that a strong peacekeeping force can play in apprehending fugitives from justice and preventing instability. Through its strong peacekeeping mandate, well-equipped and well-funded forces, and coordinated leadership, MINUSCA was able to force Ali Kushayb to surrender in the CAR. This week, as the UNSC continues to deliberate the roles of UNAMID and its successor force, UNITAMS, it must deploy its lessons learned to peacekeeping in Darfur. The UNSC must authorize a strong peacekeeping mission with a Chapter 7 authorization for civilian protection to ensure continued protection and security in Darfur, and Sudan at large be provided


In celebrating the victory of Ali Kushayb’s surrender, the international community must remain vigilant in continuing the fight for justice in Darfur and other crises situations. The UNSC and the member states of the ICC must uphold their legal and moral obligation toward the implementation of all Security Council resolutions and the Rome Statute. Although some UNSC members are not parties to the ICC, they must nevertheless support the case of Darfur because it was referred to the court through the UNSC and must be adequately addressed under the court’s jurisdiction. We urge the member of the ICC to provide full support to the court in proceeding with Kushayb’s trial, as well as to press the interim government of Sudan to immediately surrender the three other ICC indictees to face trial. We must all act promptly for the sake of the victims and survivors of genocide. Sudan cannot be transition to peace when there is no justice and accountability, and these cannot be achieved until each and every war crime and crime against humanity is prosecuted before the law.


About: Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) strives to empower and amplify the voices of women, the victims of genocide, and the historically excluded Sudanese. DWAG ultimately hopes to enable them to fight for their rights, to achieve justice, and to equally participate in the transformation of their society.