Bahr Idriss Abu Garda

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Bahr Idriss Abu Garda
Born (1963-01-01) 1 January 1963 (age 51)[1]
Nana, North Darfur[1]
Nationality Sudanese
Known for Indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes

Bahr Idriss Abu Garda (born 1 January 1963)[1] is the leader of the United Resistance Front, a rebel group fighting against the Sudanese government in Darfur.[2] He is a former commander of the Justice and Equality Movement.[3][4]

Abu Garda was summonsed to appear before the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes relating to a 2007 attack in which twelve African Union peacekeepers were killed.[3] He is the first person ever to appear voluntarily before the ICC, and the first person to appear before the court in connection with the war in Darfur. He denies the allegations against him and says "I am looking forward to clear my name from this case because I am sure ... that absolutely I am not guilty".[5] The hearing to confirm the charges against him was held from 19–29 October 2009, ending in a decision by the judges not to confirm the charges[6]

Biography[edit]

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Abu Garda was born in Nana, North Darfur, Sudan and is a member of the Zaghawa tribe.[1]

From January 2005 to September 2007, he was vice-president of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), an armed Islamist group which fought against the Sudanese government and pro-government militia groups in Darfur.[4] He split with the JEM and on 4 October 2007 he participated in the formation of a new armed group called the JEM Collective Leadership.[7]

As of May 2009, he is the leader of the United Resistance Front (URF), another rebel group.[2]

International Criminal Court prosecution[edit]

On 20 November 2008, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, presented evidence to the court alleging that Abu Garda and two other rebel commanders were guilty of war crimes in relation to a 2007 operation in which about a thousand rebels surrounded and attacked a camp of African Union peacekeepers in Haskanita, Darfur, killing twelve of them.[8][9]

On 7 May 2009, a Pre-Trial Chamber found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Abu Garda was criminally responsible on three counts of war crimes: murder, pillaging, and intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission.[10] The prosecutor submitted that an arrest warrant was unnecessary since Abu Garda had expressed his willingness to appear before the court, so the court issued a summons ordering him to appear before the court on 18 May 2009.[10] Abu Garda flew to The Hague by commercial airliner on 17 May and became the first person ever to appear voluntarily before the ICC.

Abu Garda denies all the charges against him, and claims to be the victim of a dispute between the URF and the JEM, which has said it helped to collect evidence against him.[3] He says "I am looking forward to clear my name from this case because I am sure ... that absolutely I am not guilty".[5]

After his initial appearance before the court on 18 May 2009, he left the Netherlands to return to his soldiers.[2][11] The hearing to confirm the charges against him took place from 19–29 October 2009, and ended with a decision not the confirm the charges.[6] This concludes the legal proceedings against Abu Garda for the time being.


References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d International Criminal Court (16 June 2009). The Prosecutor v. Bahr Idriss Abu Garda Information Sheet PDF. Accessed on 22 April 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Marlise Simons (18 May 2009). "Darfur Rebel Faces International Court in Hague". The New York Times. Accessed on 5 July 2009.
  3. ^ a b c BBC News (18 May 2009). "Darfur rebel appears before ICC". Accessed on 5 July 2009.
  4. ^ a b Trial Watch (2009). "Bahr Idriss Abu Garda". Accessed on 5 July 2009.
  5. ^ a b Mike Corder (18 May 2009). "Sudan rebel chief surrenders to war crime court". The Associated Press. Accessed on 5 July 2009.
  6. ^ a b ICC summary of the Abu Garda case. (accessed 22 April 2011)
  7. ^ International Criminal Court (17 May 2009). Questions and answers on the summons to Bahr Idriss Abu Garda PDF. Accessed on 5 July 2009.
  8. ^ International Criminal Court (20 November 2008). "“Attacks on peacekeepers will not be tolerated”. ICC Prosecutor presents evidence in third case in Darfur". Accessed on 5 July 2009.
  9. ^ International Criminal Court (10 December 2008). "Pre-Trial Chamber I requests additional information in relation to the application for a warrant of arrest for three rebel commanders in Darfur". Accessed on 5 July 2009.
  10. ^ a b International Criminal Court (7 May 2009). Decision on the Prosecutor's Application under Article 58 PDF. Accessed on 5 July 2009.
  11. ^ International Criminal Court (19 May 2009). "Confirmation of charges hearing in the case of The Prosecutor v. Bahr Idriss Abu Garda scheduled to start on Monday, 12 October 2009". Accessed on 5 July 2009.

External links[edit]