Dozens of Sudanese citizens including some soldiers and high-ranking officers are in The Hague to testify before the International Criminal Court.
Radio Netherlands Worldwide learned of the soldiers' role in the trial from a well-informed source today.
The court is trying Sudan's government and rebel leaders on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, including the bombing of civilians. Relatives of the witnesses have also been taken to The Hague to protect them against possible retaliation by the Sudanese government. ICC officials declined to comment on the matter, saying this would violate the court's commitment to protect witnesses and victims.
In April 2007, the ICC issued arrest warrants for two Sudanese nationals, Humanitarian Affairs Minister Ahmed Haroun and local militia leader Ali Kushib. In July 2008, ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo presented evidence against President Omar al-Bashir to support charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur. A preliminary hearing is currently considering whether to issue an arrest warrant for Mr al-Bashir.
Three rebel leaders were also declared wanted by the ICC on Thursday. They are accused of war crimes in relation to an attack on an African Union peacekeeping base in Haskanita, Darfur, which killed 12 peacekeepers. The prosecutor claims he has information on the identity of the rebel commanders who were allegedly responsible. He is soon to present the evidence in court.
Sudan, which has not ratified the treaty establishing the Hague-based ICC, refuses to hand over the Sudanese minister of Humanitarian affairs and a Janjaweed militia leader indicted last year. Sudanese government officials have also stated they will not hand over any Sudanese citizens to the ICC, including rebel leaders.
Mr al-Bashir is accused of orchestrating a campaign of genocide in Darfur, where more than five years of fighting has killed 200,000 people and driven 2.5 million from their homes. Sudan puts the death toll at 10,000.