The prosecution of Ali Abd al-Rahma ‘Kushayb’ at the International Criminal Court opened earlier this month. It is the first case in which an alleged perpetrator of mass atrocities inflicted during the Darfur war in 2003-04 is facing international justice. Hopefully it will not be the last.

For the first time at an ICC trial, the prosecution and defense agreed that they would open the case with a jointly appointed expert witness, who can provide background and context for the proceedings. For this trial, they asked me to be that person.

Cover of "The Conflict in Darfur, Sudan"

I wrote a report, ‘The Conflict in Darfur, Sudan: Background and Overview,’ and testified over three days. The transcript is available online. Video will posted once it has become available.

It was an extraordinary and moving experience, to see the full, solemn procedures of justice at the highest court in the world being applied to crimes committed against humble people in small villages. I will be writing about it more in due course.

Alex de Waal is the Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Considered one of the foremost experts on Sudan and the Horn of Africa, his scholarly work and practice has also probed humanitarian crisis and response, human rights, HIV/AIDS and governance in Africa, and conflict and peace-building.

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