Abéché (Chad), 3 May 2007 - As part of the strategy for outreach related to the situation of Darfur, the Registrar of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Mr Bruno Cathala, is visiting three camps housing Sudanese refugees in Eastern Chad.
The purpose of his mission, which will end on Friday 4th May, is to explain the mandate and activities of the Court, especially the rights of victims to participate in Court proceedings, presenting their views and concerns at all stages of the proceedings, regardless of whether they are called to testify as witnesses.
Throughout the three day visit, the Registrar together with the Head of the Division of Victims and Counsel, Mr Didier Preira, will meet with representatives of the refugees in the camps of Bredjing, Farchana and Treguine which host about 65,000 people.
Following the referral from the United Nations Security Council (Resolution 1593 of 31 March 2005), the Prosecutor Mr Luis Moreno-Ocampo decided to open an investigation into the situation in Darfur in June 2005.
Pre-Trial Chamber I issued yesterday warrants of arrest for crimes against humanity and war crimes, for Ahmad Muhammad Harun, former Minister of State for the Interior of the Government of Sudan and currently Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, and Ali Muhammad Al Abd-Al-Rahman ("Ali Kushayb"), a leader of the Militia/Janjaweed.
According to the findings of the Pre-Trial Chamber, an armed conflict took place between the Government of Sudan including combatants from the Sudan People's Armed Forces ("the Sudanese Armed Forces") and the Popular Defence Force (the "PDF") along with the Militia/Janjaweed against organised rebel groups, including the Sudanese Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in Darfur, Sudan.
It is alleged that the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Militia/Janjaweed, acting together as part of the counter-insurgency campaign, carried out several attacks on the towns of Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar, Arawala and surrounding areas in 2003 and 2004. In these towns, criminal acts were committed against civilians primarily from the Fur, Zaghawa and Masalit populations.
For further information please contact
Claudia Perdomo +31 (0)70 515-8514 in The Hague; or Sonia Robla + 235 6745850 in Chad.