A Darfur rebel charged with war crimes has been ordered to appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday, The Hague-based court says.

Bahr Idriss Abu Garda is charged with taking part in an attack in north Darfur in 2007, during which 12 African Union (AU) peacekeepers were killed.

Mr Abu Garda is the first Darfur rebel to have voluntarily answered a summons from the ICC, the court said.

The former senior member of the Jem rebel group denies any involvement.

“I will go, no problem. I know I was not involved,” Mr Abu Garda, who now heads the United Resistance Movement (URF) rebel group, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

The United Nations estimates that 300,000 people have died in a six-year conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region and millions more have been displaced.

Mr Abu Garda was due to appear for an initial hearing on Monday afternoon, the ICC said in a statement.

It said he was charged with three war crimes allegedly committed during the attack at the Haskanita AU camp in September 2007.

No arrest warrant was issued as Mr Abu Garda had shown a willingness to appear before the ICC, prosecutors said.

Jem (Justice and Equality Movement) said that they had helped collect the evidence against Mr Abu Garda.

In March, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir was indicted on war crime charges, which were the first issued by the ICC against a sitting president.

In a BBC interview earlier this month, President Bashir dismissed the charges as propaganda.

The Aegis Trust, a genocide campaign group, said Mr Abu Garda’s arrival at The Hague increased the pressure on others, particularly the Sudanese government, to follow suit.



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