Africa in the dock at the ICC

2 min 14Approximate reading time

The International Criminal Court, which called for South Africa to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir during a visit for an African Union summit, has opened investigations in eight African countries.

Here are details about the main indictments issued by the ICC, the world’s first permanent international war crimes court.

– Sudan –

President Omar al-Bashir, 71, was indicted in 2009 on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity over the conflict in the western region of Darfur. The following year he was charged with genocide over events in Darfur, where more than 300,000 people have died since 2003. Five other people are on the ICC’s wanted list.

– Central African Republic –

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s former vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba, whose rebel army is accused of atrocities in the Central African Republic, has been detained by the ICC and charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. A second formal probe was also opened in September 2014 into an “endless” list of atrocities committed by armed militias since August 2012.

– Democratic Republic of Congo –

The ICC sentenced Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga in 2012 to 14 years in prison for conscripting children into his rebel army in 2002-2003, the court’s first ever verdict. It upheld the decision on appeal in December 2014.

Ex-militia leader Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui was acquitted in December 2012 over a 2003 village massacre. However, another former militia leader Germain Katanga was sentenced in May 2014 to 12 years over the same attack.

Another militia leader, Bosco Ntaganda — nicknamed “The Terminator” — is awaiting trial for crimes committed by his Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo in 2002 and 2003, including using child soldiers and sex slaves.

Warlord Sylvestre Mudacumura, military commander of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), is wanted for crimes committed in the volatile eastern Kivu regions.

– Ivory Coast –

Former president Laurent Gbagbo is in custody on four counts of crimes against humanity over months of deadly fighting that erupted after he refused to accept defeat in a November 2010 presidential election. His youth leader, Charles Ble Goude, is also in ICC custody. The trial is expected to begin November 10.

An arrest warrant for Gbagbo’s wife Simone, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the Ivory Coast, has also been issued. The country has refused to transfer her to The Hague.

– Kenya –

Two Kenyans including Vice President William Ruto are on trial for their alleged roles in the post-election violence that gripped the country in 2007-2008. However, the case collapsed against President Uhuru Kenyatta in December.

– Libya –

Currently in custody in Libya, Moamer Kadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam is accused of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the repression of the popular uprising which led to the fall of his father’s regime in 2011. .

Libya and the ICC are competing for the right to judge him.

– Mali –

The ICC opened a probe in January 2013 into possible war crimes by armed groups during the conflict in Mali between northern Islamist insurgents and the army, backed by French forces. No arrest warrants have been issued.

– Uganda –

The ICC issued arrest warrants for Joseph Kony and other commanders of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in 2005 for crimes against humanity and war crimes, including the use of child soldiers and sex slavery. Dominic Ongwen was arrested at the end of January and transferred to the ICC.

– Others –

ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has also launched preliminary investigations into alleged crimes in Afghanistan, Colombia, Georgia, Honduras, Iraq, Palestine and Ukraine, as well as in Guinea and Nigeria.

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