Justice Update – Darfur at the ICC: Mr “tough fibre” or not?

Ali Abd-Al-Rahman at his confirmation hearing at the ICC on May 24th, 2021. Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI

More than 15 years in the making – a referral by the United Nations Security Council was in 2005 – the first ever Darfur trial kicked off last week at the ICC, with the confirmation of charges hearing of Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-al-Rahman.

Also known as ‘Ali Kushayb’ – although the defence contests a lot about the nickname including whether it refers to a tough fibre or not – he allegedly was a senior commander of pro-government “Janjaweed” militias during the Darfur conflict in 2003-2004. He’s now facing 31 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. His defence team has already argued that he is not the man the ICC is looking for and is also planning to contest the court’s jurisdiction over Darfur because of issues with the UN referral.

Abd-al-Rahman was apprehended in June last year, when he surrendered himself in the Central African Republic. Another ICC wanted man for crimes committed in Darfur, former Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, is in prison in Khartoum after being deposed in 2019.

We will be keeping an eye on this trial; for now, you can listen for more context on the Darfur case to the Justice Update we recorded last year, when Abd-al-Rahman was arrested.


This podcast has been produced as part of a partnership with JusticeInfo.net, an independent website in French and English covering justice initiatives in countries dealing with serious violence. It is a media outlet of Fondation Hirondelle, based in Lausanne, Switzerland.