An ex-militia commander sought by the ICC is detained in the Central African Republic. The Sudanese is said to have committed war crimes.
A Sudanese who has been searched by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes in Darfur since 2007 is detained. According to media reports, Ali Kushayb surrendered this weekend in Birao in the Central African Republic. He was arrested on Monday, and on Tuesday afternoon French radio broadcaster RFI reported that he was already on his way to the ICC in The Hague.
Kushayb is one of three Sudanese against whom the ICC issued warrants in 2007 for the war in Darfur. The others were Sudan’s then minister for humanitarian affairs, Ahmed Harun, and Sudan’s then president Omar Hassan al-Bashir. The arrest warrant against Bashir was later expanded to include genocide.
In 2003/04, Kushayb commanded the paramilitary Janjaweed militia in Wadi Salih in southern Darfur, which committed numerous crimes against the non-Arab civilian population. The ICC’s arrest warrant lists 51 allegations, from displacement to rape to murder. Sudan never recognized the ICC, but said it judges criminals itself. Kushayb was briefly detained but was released and became a police commander.
In 2019, an uprising in Sudan overthrew the Bashir dictatorship. But Kushayb, security officer in the south of Darfur, felt safe. According to a human rights group, he threatened to kill opposition figures at a meeting on January 23, 2020: he had done so earlier. But in February, Sudan’s interim government promised to enforce the ICC arrest warrants. So Kushayb escaped to the northeast of the Central African Republic, with dozens of armed men in fully fueled vehicles.
This region around Birao does not rule the Central African government, but the rebel group FPRC (Patriotic Front for the Rebirth of Central Africa) of Noureddine Adam. This former leader of the Seleka rebel alliance, which ruled the Central African Republic from 2013 to 2014, was formerly a confidant of those in power in Sudan. But now he seems to be seizing the opportunity to collect points by working with the ICC.