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Sudan war crimes suspects agree not to contest ICC charges

Two Sudanese men suspected [pre-trial materials] of committing war crimes related to the ongoing violence in the Darfur [JURIST news archive] region of Sudan agreed earlier this week not to contest the charges [briefing text, PDF] during an upcoming International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] confirmation hearing, marking the first waiver of its kind for the ICC. Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain (Banda) and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus (Jerbo) filed a joint motion with the ICC Prosecutors Office [official website] agreeing to the facts laid out in the prosecution's description of charges. If the ICC judges approve the motion, the waiver would only apply to an expedited confirmation hearing, preserving the suspects' right to contest the prosecution's facts if the case goes to trial. Banda and Jerbo are suspected in connection with the September 2007 attack on African Union (AU) [official website] peacekeeping troops at Haskanita [BBC backgrounder], which resulted in the death of 12 peacekeepers. The confirmation hearing is scheduled for November 22.

The men surrendered [JURIST report] to the ICC in June, nearly a year after summonses for Banda and Jerbo [texts, PDF] were issued under seal by Pre-Trial Chamber I, which included charges of murder, intentionally attacking a peacekeeping mission and "pillaging." ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official website] praised the voluntary appearance [press release] of the men and indicated that their surrender meant that the ICC would have the chance to prosecute all suspects found in connection with the Haskanita attack. A third rebel leader, Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, was charged by the ICC earlier this year [case materials] in connection with the attack, but the charges were dropped [JURIST report] due to lack of evidence.

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