Darfur rebel in court

2009-05-17 21:24

Amsterdam - A Darfur rebel accused of killing African Union peacekeepers in 2007 has been ordered to appear at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday and is expected to appear voluntarily, the ICC said on Sunday.

Bahr Idriss Abu Garda will be the first rebel to stand before The Hague-based ICC after the court's prosecutor accused him and two others of what AU officials called the bloodiest assault on peacekeepers since the Darfur conflict began in 2003.

According to the prosecutor, Abu Garda has shown a willingness to appear before the court and judges therefore decided that issuing an arrest warrant was not necessary, the ICC said in a statement.

Denied involvement

In November 2008, chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo requested arrest warrants for three Darfur rebels including Abu Garda. He said the rebels orchestrated the attack at the Haskanita AU camp in September 2007, during which 12 peacekeepers were killed.

Abu Garda, the head of the insurgent United Resistance Front faction, has denied any involvement in the attack and said in November last year that he was prepared to go The Hague.

The court has charged Abu Garda with with three war crimes allegedly committed during the Haskanita attack.

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was indicted by the ICC in March in the first indictment against a sitting head of state. He was charged with seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, which include murder, rape and torture.