The first trial for atrocities committed in Darfur has opened at the International Criminal Court (ICC), nearly 20 years after violence tore through the Sudanese region.
BBC reports that a suspected former leader of the pro-government Janjaweed militia has been charged with 31 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-al-Rahman denies the charges.
Human rights lawyer Mossaad Mohamed Ali has described the case as “historic”.
“Tuesday is a momentous day for victims and survivors in Darfur who never stopped fighting to see the day the cycle of impunity is broken,” he said.
he said he hoped the trial against Abd al-Rahman will shed light on his responsibility for the horrendous crimes, in particular sexual crimes, committed by him and the government-backed Janjaweed militias under his command.
Mr Abd-al-Rahman, also known as Ali Kushayb, is the first person to be tried by the ICC over a conflict that left about 300,000 people dead and more than two million homeless.
He surrendered to the ICC in 2020 after 13 years on the run.
He is alleged to have participated in attacks on civilians in four towns in Darfur between August 2003 and March 2004.