The Hague, January 9, 2012 (FH) - Lawyers for Darfur rebel leaders Abdallah Banda and Saleh Jerbo before the International Criminal Court are asking the Court to suspend proceedings. They say they cannot investigate properly because of Sudan's refusal to cooperate with the Court, and that their clients will therefore not get a fair trial.
Former commander of the Justice and Equality Movement Banda, and former Chief of Staff of SLA-Unity Jerbo are accused of crimes against humanity for a 2007 attack on Haskanita military base, in which twelve international peacekeepers died. The two men have appeared voluntarily before the ICC. No date has yet been set for their trial.
Defence lawyers Karim Khan and Nicolas Koumjian say the government of Sudan not only refuses to cooperate with investigations, but has made any cooperation with the ICC a criminal offence. The two lawyers have been trying to conduct investigations in Sudan since 2010, without success. They say telephone conversations with witnesses inside the country are also impossible because the Sudanese authorities monitor calls.
Khartoum has been opposing the ICC ever since the Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir in July 2008 for crimes allegedly committed in Darfur.
© Hirondelle News Agency