Sudan: Darfur trial opens, guerillas attack AU troops, Qadaffi to mediate?

In an obvious move to undercut the International Criminal Court, Sudan has announced that it will put three men on trial for atrocities in Darfur—including Ali Mohammed Abd-al-Rahman AKA Ali Kushayb, officially named as a suspect by the ICC. Sudanese authorities say the three are already in custody and their trials will start immediately in El Geneina. (NYT, March 7; AP, March 6) Meanwhile in a blow to the Darfur peace accord, gunmen kidnapped and killed two African Union troops, critically wounded a third, and stole their vehicle March 5 in Geraida, South Darfur. The AU said the assailants are believed to belong to the Minnawi faction of the Sudan Liberation Army, which signed the rather dubious “peace agreement” in May. (AP, March 7) In a sure sign of changing times, the US envoy to Sudan, Andrew Natsios, has announced he will travel to Tripoli this week for talks on getting Libya involved in efforts to broker an end the Darfur conflict. Natsios made the announcement to the press after two hours of talks with President Omar al-Bashir. Said Natsios: “We believe that it should be one track of negotiations, the one of the UN and AU. I’m leaving tonight to Tripoli to see Qadaffi about the Libyan role.” (AFP, March 7)

See our last post on Sudan and the fast-growing Sahel crisis