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First Darfur case to reach Hague tribunal begins

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - A Sudanese rebel leader is appearing at the International Criminal Court at a hearing to decide whether he must stand trial on charges of leading an attack that killed 12 peacekeepers.

The case against Bahr Idriss Abu Garda is the tribunal's first stemming from the conflict in Darfur.

The pretrial hearing is expected to last two weeks. The three judges will then decide whether there is enough evidence to warrant a trial.

Prosecutors say the 46-year-old rebel commander led an attack against African Union peacekeepers at Haskanita in northern Darfur in two years ago. He has denied he had anything to do with the attack.

Abu Garda surrendered voluntarily to the court last May and was released. He returned to the courtroom Monday to attend the hearing.


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