THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Appeals judges at the International Criminal Court upheld Thursday the detention of an alleged Sudanese militia leader charged with more than 50 crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Darfur conflict.
Ali Mohammed Ali Abdul Rahman Ali, known as Ali Kushayb, has been in the global court’s detention since being flown to its headquarters in The Hague in June, more than 13 years after judges first issued an international warrant seeking his arrest.
Following his transfer to the ICC, Kushayb applied to be provisionally released from the court’s custody while his case continues. Judges rejected the request and on Thursday an appeals panel ruling upheld that decision.
A hearing on whether prosecution evidence is strong enough to merit a full trial is scheduled to begin on Dec. 7.
The conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region started when rebels from the territory’s ethnic central and sub-Saharan African community launched an insurgency in 2003, complaining of oppression by the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum.
The government responded with a scorched-earth campaign of aerial bombings, and unleashed militias known as the Janjaweed, who are accused of mass killings and rapes. Up to 300,000 people were killed and 2.7 million were driven from their homes. Prosecutors allege that Kushayb was a senior Janjaweed leader.
Sudan’s former president, Omar al-Bashir, is wanted by the court on genocide and war crimes charges for allegedly masterminding the campaign. He was ousted from power last year and is being tried in Sudan on charges of plotting the 1989 Islamist-backed coup that removed an elected government and brought him to power.