ICC judges have issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese rebel leader Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain after concluding that he may not show up for trial voluntarily.
Banda was supposed to face trial on 18 November for allegedly attacking African Union peacekeepers in Darfur in 2007, a war crime under the Rome Statute.
He denies the charges and has been so far cooperating with the ICC, having traveled to The Hague for preliminary hearings.
Judges had requested Sudan’s assistance in facilitating Banda’s presence at trial. This cooperation, according to the information provided by the Court’s Registry, is not forthcoming.
Sudan is not an ICC member state. The Court was given jurisdiction over the situation in Darfur in 2005 by the United Nations Security Council. Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir is wanted by the Court for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur.
Given these circumstances, judges “considered that there are no guarantees that Banda will be in an objective position to appear voluntarily, regardless of whether he wishes to be present at trial or not.”
The trial—set to be first in the Darfur situation—has been delayed for several years due to the unavailability of translators and difficulties translating from and into the (oral) Zaghawa language.
The 18 November trial date has now been vacated.
Banda appeared voluntarily before Court for the first time in June 2010, and has been living in Darfur since, communicating with the Court via his legal representatives.
In October last year, ICC judges ended the proceedings against his co-accused Saleg Mohammed Jerbo after finding there was evidence indicating he had been killed in a rebel attack in North Darfur in April 2013.
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