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African cases at the ICC

Feb 9, 2016, 9:43 AM

So far, 23 cases in nine situations (countries) have been brought before the International Criminal Court.

According to the Rome Statute, the situations can be initiated by the UN Security Council such as the case against President al-Bashir, a referral from any state party such as the Uganda cases, or when the prosecutor takes up a case if the state concerned has no capacity or is unwilling to initiate local mechanism -- such as the Kenyan cases.

1. Uganda

The government of Uganda had referred five top members of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) to the ICC over war crimes and crimes against humanity in northern Uganda. The ICC subsequently issued warrants of arrests against Joseph Kony, and his commanders Vincent Otti, Raska Lukwiya, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen in May 2005.

Kony, faces 33 counts of crimes against humanity such as sexual enslavement, inflicting serious bodily injury, murder, pillaging and forced enlistment of children.

2. Cote d’Ivoire

The trial of former president of Cote d’Ivoire Laurent Gbagbo and his close political associate, Charles Ble Goude, started on February 28. Mr Gbagbo was surrendered to the ICC on November 2011 and in June 2014, the Pre-Trial Chamber I confirmed four charges of crimes against humanity. Mr Ble Goude also faces similar charges.

Mr Gbagbo was blamed for running a militia that committed serious violence against civilians between December 16, 2010 and April 12, 2011, following protests after the 2010 elections, which he refused to concede to the presumed winner, Alassane Ouattara.

3. Sudan

There are five cases in the situation in Darfur, Sudan -- involving Hassan Omar al-Bashir, Ahmad Muhammad Harun, Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain; and Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein. Warrants of arrests have been issued for Harun, Kushayb, Al Bashir and Hussein.

The four suspects remain at large. But Mr Abu Garda appeared voluntarily before the Chamber in May 2009. After the hearing of confirmation of charges, on February 2010, the Pre-Trial Chamber I declined to confirm the charges and he was set free.

4. DRC

Six individuals from DRC have been tried in different chambers at the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity. They are Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, Germain Katanga, Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, Callixte Mbarushimana, Sylvestre Mudacumura and Bosco Ntaganda.

Mr Dyilo was sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment in July 2012. In December 2012, Trial Chamber II acquitted Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui of the charges againt him and ordered his immediate release.

In March 2014, Trial Chamber II found Germain Katanga guilty of one count of crime against humanity (murder) and four counts of war crimes (murder, attacking a civilian population, destruction of property and pillaging), and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Mr Mbarushimana was also set free.

Bosco Ntaganda was put on trial in March 2013, after he surrendered himself to ICC. In June 2014, the Pre-Trial Chamber II unanimously confirmed charges against him on 13 counts of war crimes and five counts of counts of crimes against humanity.

Guest Editorial: The East African (Nairobi)

“The criminal justice system, like any system designed by human beings, clearly has its flaws.”

Ben Whishaw