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Suspects in killing of Darfur peacekeepers to appear before ICC on Thursday

16 June 2010 – Two rebel leaders accused in the September 2007 attack that resulted in the death of 12 peacekeepers in Darfur arrived voluntarily at the International Criminal Court (ICC) today and will appear before judges on Thursday.

Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain (Banda) and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus (Jerbo) are charged with three counts of war crimes allegedly committed during the attack on the Haskanita camp in South Darfur state.

The attack resulted in the killing of 12 peacekeepers and the wounding of 8 others serving with the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) – a predecessor to the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission, known as UNAMID.

It was allegedly carried out by the troops belonging to the Sudanese Liberation Army-Unity (SLA-Unity), which had broken away from the Sudanese Liberation Movement-Army (SLA/M), under the command of Jerbo, jointly with splinter forces of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), under the command of Banda.

Until their first appearance before The Hague-based Court tomorrow, both men will stay at a confidential location, according to a news release issued by the ICC. They are ordered not to leave the premises of the Court, including that location, for the whole period of their stay in the Netherlands without the permission of the Pre-Trial Chamber.

“During the hearing tomorrow, they will be informed of the crimes which they are alleged to have committed and of their rights under the Rome Statute,” the Court stated. “A confirmation hearing will be held within a reasonable time to determine whether or not there are substantial grounds to believe that they committed the crimes charged.”

An estimated 300,000 people have died and another 3 million have been displaced in Darfur, where rebels have been fighting Government forces and allied Arab militiamen, known as the Janjaweed, since 2003.

The situation in Darfur was referred to Court by the Security Council in 2005, and is one of five investigations currently before the ICC, along with Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and Kenya.

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