Darfur: Pursuing Perpetrators of Crimes Against Humanity

In 2003, the forces of Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir launched a campaign against the citizens of Darfur that the UN estimates killed 300,000 civilians and displaced over 2 million others. This campaign was implemented by the Sudanese government together with their allied Janjaweed militiamen, known as ‘devils on horseback’.

These acts led the International Criminal Court to issue a series of arrest warrants accusing Bashir and others of being responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Among these was Mr. Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, also known as Ali Kushayb, a senior leader of the Janjaweed militia charged with 31 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed between 2003-2004 in Darfur.

He is the first and only suspect to appear before the ICC in a case linked to the Situation in Darfur, almost two decades after his alleged crimes. In 2020-2021 CFJ Co-President Ms. Amal Clooney represented 126 Darfuri victims of Mr. Kushayb’s alleged crimes and acted as their appointed Legal Representative before the International Criminal Court.  She did so in collaboration with lawyers from the Docket who, along with with experts from the Sentry, led outreach efforts with the survivor community.

Amal Clooney

The victims in this case are orphans and widows. They discovered the corpses of their brothers, fathers, childhood friends. They witnessed the rape of their wives and sisters. They are themselves victims of such crimes.

Amal Clooney's Opening Submission at the ICC

What Did We Do?

During her work on the case, together with lawyers from The Docket, Amal Clooney represented Darfuri victims during the case against Ali Kushayb.  They worked to present the views of participating victims during these hearings. In July 2021, Pre-Trial Chamber II unanimously confirmed all the charges brought by the Prosecutor against Ali Kushayb and committed him to trial.

Under the Rome Statute, victims of the world’s most serious crimes were given rights to participate in proceedings at the ICC. Victims participate by conveying their views and concerns to judges, which normally happens through a legal representative. There are other ways for victims to play a role in ICC proceedings like submitting information to the Court about crimes they believe have been committed, or, during a trial, a victim may testify before the ICC. If a case proceeds to trial and an accused person is convicted, victims may ask the ICC to make an order of reparations.