Situation: Darfur, Sudan
Case: The Prosecutor v. Bahar Idriss Abu Garda
Today, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court issued a decision declining to confirm the charges in the case of The Prosecutor v. Bahar Idriss Abu Garda.
The Chamber was not satisfied that there was sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that Bahar Idriss Abu Garda could be held criminally responsible either as a direct or as an indirect co-perpetrator for the commission of the crimes with which he was charged by the Prosecution. Abu Garda was charged with three war crimes, namely violence to life, intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units and vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission, and pillaging, allegedly committed during an attack carried out on 29 September, 2007, against the African Union Mission in Sudan (“AMIS”), a peace-keeping mission stationed at the Haskanita Military Group Site (“MGS Haskanita”), in the locality of Umm Kadada, North Darfur.
The Chamber stressed that the case was of sufficient gravity as the consequences of the attack had affected not only the AMIS personnel and their families, but also the local population as AMIS, involved in a peacekeeping mission, established under the auspices of the African Union, first suspended, and finally reduced its activities in the area. The Chamber also found that there were substantial grounds to believe that AMIS personnel and installations, material, units and vehicles stationed at the MGS Haskanita were entitled to protection given to civilians and to civilian objects under the international law of armed conflicts. The Chamber found, however, that the Prosecution’s allegations that Abu Garda participated in the alleged common plan to attack MGS Haskanita were not supported by sufficient evidence.
The Chamber’s decision was taken by unanimity, and one judge filed a separate opinion. The decision does not preclude the Prosecution from subsequently requesting the confirmation of the charges against Abu Garda if such request is supported by additional evidence. The Prosecution can also submit a request to Pre-Trial chamber I for leave to appeal the decision on the confirmation of charges.