International Criminal Court investigations


International Criminal Court investigations

As of July 2008, the International Criminal Court has launched investigations into four situations: Northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and Darfur (Sudan).International Criminal Court, 2007. [http://www.icc-cpi.int/cases.html "Situations and Cases"] . Accessed 31 May 2007.] The Court has issued public arrest warrants for twelve people; six of them remain free, two have died, and four are in custody, awaiting trial.

As of 4 October 2007, the Office of the Prosecutor had received 2889 communicationsInternational Criminal Court, 18 October 2007. "PDFlink| [http://www.icc-cpi.int/library/asp/ICC-ASP-6-18_English.pdf Report on the activities of the Court] "|91.8 KB. Accessed 25 November 2007.] about alleged crimes in at least 139 countries.International Criminal Court, 10 February 2006. PDFlink| [http://www.icc-cpi.int/library/organs/otp/OTP_Update_on_Communications_10_February_2006.pdf "Update on communications received by the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC"] |236 KB. Accessed 22 June 2007.] After initial review, however, the vast majority of these communications were dismissed as “manifestly outside the jurisdiction of the Court”.

How an investigation is opened

The Prosecutor may open an investigation under three circumstances:International Criminal Court. [http://www.icc-cpi.int/organs/otp.html "Office of the Prosecutor"] . Accessed 21 July 2007.]
*when a situation is referred to him by a state party;
*when a situation is referred to him by the United Nations Security Council, acting to address a threat to international peace and security; or
*when the Pre-Trial Chamber authorises him to open an investigation on the basis of information received from other sources, such as individuals or non-governmental organisations.

Of the four situations the Prosecutor has investigated to date, three were referred by states parties and one by the Security Council.

Active investigations

Northern Uganda

In December 2003, the government of Uganda, a state party, referred to the Prosecutor the situation concerning the Lord’s Resistance Army in Northern Uganda. [International Criminal Court, 29 January 2004. " [http://www.icc-cpi.int/pressrelease_details&id=16&l=en.html President of Uganda refers situation concerning the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) to the ICC] ". Accessed 2007-01-11.] The Prosecutor decided to open an investigation into this matter on July 29 2004, and on July 5 the situation was assigned to Pre-Trial Chamber II.

On 8 July 2005, the Court issued its first public arrest warrants for five senior leaders of the LRA alleging:International Criminal Court, 14 October 2005. " [http://www.icc-cpi.int/pressrelease_details&id=114&l=en.html Warrant of Arrest unsealed against five LRA Commanders] ". Accessed 2006-12-05.]

* Leader Joseph Kony committed the crimes against humanity of murder, enslavement, sexual enslavement, rape and serious bodily injury and the war crimes of murder, cruel treatment of civilians, attacking civilians, pillage, inducing rape and enlisting child soldiers

* Kony's deputy, Vincent Otti, committed the crimes against humanity of murder, sexual enslavement and serious bodily injury and the war crimes of inducing rape, attacking civilians, enlisting child soldiers, cruel treatment of civilians, pillage and murder

* Army Commander of the LRA, Okot Odiambo committed the crime against humanity of enslavement and war crimes of attacking civilians, pillage and enlisting child soldiers; Odiambo reportedly led an attack on Barlonya refugee camp in February 2004 when more than 300 people were massacred.

* LRA commander Raska Lukwiya committed the crime against humanity of enslavement and the war crimes of cruel treatment of civilians, attacking civilians and pillage

* LRA commander Dominic Ongwen committed the crimes against humanity of murder, enslavement and serious bodily injury and the war crimes of murder, cruel treatment of civilians, attacking civilians and pillage

None of the indictees have yet been arrested but Lukwiya was killed in fighting on 12 August 2006, [ [http://www.businessinafrica.net/news/all_regions/545918.htm "Ugandan rebels mourn leader"] , "Business in Africa", 14 August 2006] [International Criminal Court, 11 July 2007. PDFlink| [http://www.icc-cpi.int/library/cases/ICC-02-04-01-05-248_English.pdf "Decision to Terminate the Proceedings against Raska Lukwiya"] |2.73 MB. Accessed 24 January 2008.] and Otti was killed in 2007, apparently by Kony. [BBC News (23 January 2008). " [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7204278.stm Uganda's LRA confirm Otti death] ". Accessed 24 January 2008.] The other three suspects are believed to be either in Southern Sudan or the northwestern Ituri Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The government of Uganda is currently in peace talks with the LRA. The LRA's leaders have repeatedly demanded immunity from ICC prosecution in return for an end to the insurgency.Associated Press, 30 May 2007. " [http://www.pr-inside.com/human-rights-watch-ugandan-rebels-must-r138877.htm Human Rights Watch: Ugandan rebels must face justice, even if not before international court] ". Accessed 24 January 2008.] The government of Uganda says it is considering establishing a national tribunal that meets international standards, thereby allowing the ICC warrants to be set aside. [Agence France-Presse, 23 January 2008. " [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5i-Op9prQrFBXZm4O4tzvOWtlHAEg Uganda's mato oput ritual: forgiveness for brutal 20-year war] ". Accessed 24 January 2008.]

Democratic Republic of the Congo

In March 2004, the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a state party, referred to the Prosecutor “the situation of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court allegedly committed anywhere in the territory of the DRC since the entry into force of the Rome Statute, on 1 July 2002.” [International Criminal Court, 19 April 2004. " [http://www.icc-cpi.int/pressrelease_details&id=19&l=en.html Prosecutor receives referral of the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo] ". Accessed 2007-01-11.] International Criminal Court, 23 June 2004. " [http://www.icc-cpi.int/pressrelease_details&id=26&l=en.html The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court opens its first investigation] ". Accessed 2007-01-11.] On June 23, the Prosecutor decided to open an investigation into the matter and on 4 July the case was allocated to Pre-Trial Chamber I. In February 2008, at the time of the arrest of the third suspect, the Prosecutor announced that this arrest had closed the ICC investigations in Ituri. [ [http://www.iccnow.org/documents/AfricanNewsletter_Issue8_feb08_eng_final.pdf ICC-Africa 8th Edition] , "Coalition for the International Criminal Court] ", 2008-02-01, accessed on 2008-03-21]

Thomas Lubanga

On 17 March 2006, Thomas Lubanga, former leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots militia in Ituri, became the first person to be arrested under a warrant issued by the court; he will be the first suspect to face trial at the ICC. A sealed (secret) warrant had been issued for his arrest on 10 February 2006 for the war crime of using child soldiers. He was flown to the court the same day in a French military aircraft. [cite press release|url=http://www.icc-cpi.int/press/pressreleases/132.html|title=First arrest for the International Criminal Court|date=17 March 2006|publisher=International Criminal Court] The prosecutor has stated that his trial will only be on the allegation of using child soldiers, and other allegations will be followed up in a subsequent prosecution. [ [http://www.firstglobalselect.com/scripts/cgiip.wsc/globalone/htm/news_article.r?vcnews-id=350883 International prosecutor says Congolese warlord may face additional war crimes charges] , First Global Select, 2006-08-07.]

Lubanga's trial was due to begin on 23 June 2008,International Criminal Court, 13 March 2008. " [http://www.icc-cpi.int/press/pressreleases/348.html The trial in the case of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo will commence on 23 June 2008] ". Accessed 14 April 2008.] but it was halted on 13 June when the Court ruled that the Prosecutor's refusal to disclose potentially exculpatory material had breached Lubanga's right to a fair trial.International Criminal Court, 13 June 2008. "PDFlink| [http://www.icc-cpi.int/library/cases/ICC-01-04-01-06-1401-ENG.pdf Decision on the consequences of non-disclosure of exculpatory materials covered by Article 54(3)(e) agreements and the application to stay the prosecution of the accused, together with certain other issues raised at the Status Conference on 10 June 2008] "|2.11 MB. Accessed 17 June 2008.] The Prosecutor had obtained the evidence from the United Nations and other sources on condition of confidentiality, but judges ruled that the Prosecutor had incorrectly applied the relevant provision of the Rome Statute and, as a consequence, "the trial process has been ruptured to such a degree that it is now impossible to piece together the constituent elements of a fair trial".

Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui

Two more participants in the Ituri conflict, Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, have also been surrendered to the Court by the Congolese authorities.International Criminal Court, 18 October 2007. " [http://www.icc-cpi.int/press/pressreleases/284.html Second arrest: Germain Katanga transferred into the custody of the ICC] ". Accessed 18 October 2007.] International Criminal Court, 7 February 2008. [http://www.icc-cpi.int/press/pressreleases/329.html "Third detainee for the International Criminal Court: Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui"] . Retrieved on 7 February 2008.] Both men are charged with six counts of war crimes and three counts of crimes against humanity, relating to an attack on the village of Bogoro on 24 February 2003 in which at least 200 civilians were killed, survivors were imprisoned in a room filled with corpses, and women and girls were sexually enslaved.International Criminal Court, 2 July 2007. "PDFlink| [http://www.icc-cpi.int/library/cases/ICC-01-04-01-07-1_tEnglish.pdf Warrant of arrest for Germain Katanga] |192 KB". Accessed 18 October 2007.] International Criminal Court, 6 July 2007. PDFlink| [http://www.icc-cpi.int/library/cases/ICC-01-04-02-07-1-tENG.pdf "Warrant of arrest for Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui"] |194 KB. Retrieved on 7 February 2008.] The charges against both men include murder, sexual slavery and using children under the age of fifteen years to participate actively in hostilities.International Criminal Court, 18 October 2007. " [http://www.icc-cpi.int/press/pressreleases/284.html Second arrest: Germain Katanga transferred into the custody of the ICC] ". Accessed 18 October 2007.] International Criminal Court, 7 February 2008. [http://www.icc-cpi.int/press/pressreleases/329.html "Third detainee for the International Criminal Court: Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui"] . Retrieved on 7 February 2008.]

Katanga, the former leader of the Ngiti-majority Front for Patriotic Resistance of Ituri militia, was transferred to the Court on 17 October 2007; Ngudjolo, former leader of the National Integrationist Front, was transferred to the Court on 6 February 2008. The hearing to confirm the charges against them began on 27 June 2008. [International Criminal Court (27 June 2008). [http://www.icc-cpi.int/pressrelease_details&id=392.html "ICC Cases an opportunity for communities in Ituri to come together and move forward"] . Retrieved on 17 July 2008.]

Central African Republic

In December 2004, the government of the Central African Republic, a state party, referred to the Prosecutor “the situation of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court committed anywhere on the territory of the Central African Republic since 1 July 2002, the date of entry into force of the Rome Statute.” [International Criminal Court, 15 December 2006. " [http://www.icc-cpi.int/library/cases/ICC-01-05-7_English.pdf Prosecution's Report Pursuant to Pre-Trial Chamber Ill's 30 November 2006 Decision Requesting Information on the Status of the Preliminary Examination of the Situation in the Central African Republic] " (PDF). Accessed 2007-01-11.]

On 13 April 2006 the Court of Cassation of the Central African Republic investigating charges or murder and rape committed by former President Ange-Felix Patasse and Congolese Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba said that they could not secure the arrest of the suspects, despite international arrest warrants, and requested the ICC to take responsibility. The allegations against Bemba date to when his Movement for the Liberation of Congo rebel army was invited by Patasse into the capital Bangui to fight rebels who were fighting against Patasse. Also referred to the court were the cases of a French policeman and two aides of Patasse who were all involved in the alleged crimes, which human rights groups allege had about 400 victims. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4908938.stm Hague referral for African pair] , "BBC", 2006-04-14.]

Local activists from the Union of Central African Journalists (UJCA) have also accused the President, François Bozizé, of committing genocide against the inhabitants of northern Central African Republic - who supported the former regime - after seizing power in 2003, and asked the court to prosecute Bozizé. [ [http://www.jeuneafrique.com/jeune_afrique/article_depeche.asp?art_cle=PAN60026bangutinupm0 Bangui accused by NGOs of protecting impunity] (French), "Jeune Afrique", 2006-03-22.]

In November 2005, the Office of the Prosecutor held meetings with the government, judiciary authorities, civil society and international community representatives in CAR to gather additional information for the preliminary analysis.

In September 2006 the government of the CAR filed a complaint with the court saying the Prosecutor had failed to decide within a reasonable time whether or not to investigate. In response the pre-trial chamber ordered the prosecutor to submit a report by 15 December 2006 as to the current status of the investigation and an estimate of when a decision on whether to investigate will be made. [ [http://www.icc-cpi.int/library/cases/ICC-01-05-6_English.pdf ICC-01/05] , "International Criminal Court", 2006-11-30.]

On 22 May 2007, the Prosecutor announced his decision to open an investigation, [International Criminal Court, 22 May 2007. " [http://www.icc-cpi.int/press/pressreleases/248.html Prosecutor opens investigation in the Central African Republic] ". Accessed 2007-05-31.] [International Criminal Court, 22 May 2007. " [http://www.icc-cpi.int/library/press/pressreleases/ICC-OTP-BN-20070522-220_A_EN.pdf Background: Situation in the Central African Republic] " (PDF). Accessed 2007-05-31.] focusing on allegations of killing and rape in 2002 and 2003, a period of intense fighting between government and rebel forces. [Nora Boustany, 23 May 2007. “ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/22/AR2007052201384.html Court Examines Alleged Abuses in Central African Republic] ”, "The Washington Post", p. A16. Accessed 2007-05-31.] The case has been allocated to Pre-Trial Chamber III.

On 24 May 2008, Jean-Pierre Bemba, the former Vice-President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was arrested during a visit to Belgium under a sealed warrant under accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in CAR [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/25/world/africa/25congo.html?ref=africa Congo Ex-Official Is Held in Belgium on War Crimes Charges] , "AFP", 2008-05-25]

Darfur, Sudan

On 31 March 2005, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1593, referring “the situation prevailing in Darfur since 1 July 2002” to the Prosecutor. [United Nations Security Council, 31 March 2005. " [http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2005/sc8351.doc.htm Security Council Refers Situation in Darfur, Sudan, To Prosecutor of International Criminal Court] ". Accessed 2007-01-11.] The Prosecutor opened an investigation into this situation on June 6, and the case was allocated to Pre-Trial Chamber I.

In February 2007 the Prosecutor announced that two men — Sudanese humanitarian affairs minister Ahmad Muhammad Harun and Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb — had been identified as key suspects, accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. [http://voanews.com/english/2007-02-27-voa37.cfm International Court Names Top Suspects in Darfur War Crimes] , "Voice of America", 2007-02-27, accessed on 2007-02-27] On 2 May 2007, the Court issued arrest warrants for the two men.Alexandra Hudson, 2 May 2007. " [http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSL0272465320070502 ICC judges issue arrest warrants for Darfur suspects] ". Reuters. Accessed 3 May 2007.] However, Sudan claims the court has no jurisdiction over this matter, and refuses to hand over the suspects.

Two more arrest warrants are expected to be issued by the end of 2008. [ [http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article26347 SudanTribune article : Sudanese officials to be charged with war crimes in 2008: ICC prosecutor ] ]

Other complaints received

As of 4 October 2007, the Office of the Prosecutor had received 2889 communications about alleged crimes in at least 139 countries. After initial review, however, the vast majority of these communications were dismissed as “manifestly outside the jurisdiction of the Court”.

In addition to the four situations where the Prosecutor has opened investigations, several other situations have been subjected to "intensive analysis", including Côte d'IvoireInternational Criminal Court (31 August 2007. [http://www.icc-cpi.int/library/organs/presidency/ICC_Report_to_UN_2006_2007_English.pdf Report of the International Criminal Court to the United Nations for 2006-2007] . Accessed on 18 October 2007.] , Kenya, Afghanistan and Colombia. [ [http://allafrica.com/stories/200804230021.html Kenya: Spokesman - ICC Analyses Country's Situation] , "Hirondells News Agency" via "allafrica.com", 2008-04-22]

National proceedings under complementarity

The Court is designed to complement existing national judicial systems: it can only exercise its jurisdiction when national courts are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute. [ [http://www.un.org/law/icc/statute/99_corr/2.htm Articles 17 & 20] of the Rome Statute. Accessed 2006-12-04.] States Parties are expected to implement national legislation to provide for the investigation and prosecution of crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the Court.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

In February 2008, a Military Tribunal in Mbandaka sentenced Botuli Itofo, a policeman, to twenty years imprisonment after his conviction under ICC implementing legislation for the crime against humanity of mass rape and other "serious human rights violations". Over fifty women and girls had complained that they had been raped as a part of a "punitive operation" by police sent to the area to restore order in March 2006. [ [http://www.monuc.org/News.aspx?newsID=17105 Human Rights Monthly Assessment: February 2008] , "MONUC", 2008-04-16] [ [http://www.congoplanet.com/article.jsp?id=45261152 Court announces verdict on the massive rapes of Waka and Lifumba] , "MONUC" via "Congo Planet", 2008-02-20]

Germany

Under the German complementarity law, crimes against humanity as defined in the Rome Statute can be prosecuted by German courts even if they are outside the jurisdiction of the court because they occur in a country that has not ratified the statute. This is under the principle of universal jurisdiction.

In December 2005, activists from Uzbekistan submitted a complaint against Uzbek Interior Minister Zokirjon Almatov in connection with the Andijan massacre. Almatov was visiting Germany at the time for hospital treatment. The prosecutor declined to act, saying the chances of a successful prosecution was "non-existent" as the government of Uzbekistan would not cooperate in the gathering of evidence. [ [http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/04/06/german13124.htm Germany: Prosecutor Denies Uzbek Victims Justice] , "Human Rights Watch", 2006-04-06, accessed on 2007-02-03]

United Kingdom

In 2007, Corporal Donald Payne became the first British person to be convicted of a war crime. He pleaded guilty under ICC implementing legislation for inhumane treatment of Baha Mousa, an Iraqi detainee following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He was sentenced to one year in jail and dismissed from the army. Three other soldiers were acquitted of war crimes in the same trial. [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2013367,00.html Colonel and three of his men cleared over abuse of detained Iraqis] , "The Guardian", 2007-02-15, accessed on 2007-12-11] [ [http://www.thisislancashire.co.uk/news/lancashirenews/display.var.906433.0.courts_martial_for_qlr_soldiers.php Courts martial for QLR soldiers] , "This is Lancashire", 2006-09-04.] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6087960.stm RAF man 'saw troops abuse Iraqis'] , "BBC", 2006-10-26.] cite web | url=http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/uk/uk+soldier+jailed+over+iraq+abuse/485457 | title=UK soldier jailed over Iraq abuse | work=Channel 4 | date=30 April 2007 | accessdate=2007-04-30 ]

References


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