[JURIST] Sudanese rebel leader Bahr Idriss Abu Garda [case materials] appeared before the International Criminal Court [official website] on Monday to deny his responsibility for war crimes committed in Darfur [JURIST news archive]. Abu Garda is accused [press release] of orchestrating a September 2007 attack [BBC report] on peacekeepers from the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) [official website] at Haskanita. The ICC alleges that the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) [official website], under Abu Garda's command, killed 12 and wounded eight AMIS soldiers. Abu Garda, the first suspect to appear before the ICC in regards to the Darfur investigation, voluntarily surrendered [JURIST report] to the court on Sunday, and called on [AP report] Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] to do the same.
In March, the ICC issued at an arrest warrant for al-Bashir, which he derided [JURIST reports] as a Western attempt to re-establish colonial power in the country. The controversial arrest warrant [JURIST news archive] had been sought by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile], who in July filed preliminary charges [text, PDF; JURIST report] against Bashir alleging genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes committed in the Darfur region in violation of Articles 6, 7, and 8 of the Rome Statute [text]. In May 2007, the ICC issued arrest warrants [JURIST report] for former Sudanese Minister of the Interior Ahmed Muhammad Harun and former militia leader Ali Kushayb [TrialWatch profiles].