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ICC Update (December 2017)

by Monique Cuillerier, membership & communications director, World Federalist Movement – Canada

The International Criminal Court is currently engaged in nine preliminary examinations, has eleven situations under investigation, and is pursuing twenty-five cases that involve fifteen defendants. The preliminary examinations are currently being conducted in Afghanistan (likely to soon transition to a full investigation), Colombia, Gabon, Guinea, Iraq/UK, Nigeria, Palestine, Ukraine, and Registered Vessels of Comoros, Greece, and Cambodia.

Central African Republic (I)
This situation was referred to the Court by the Government of the Central African Republic in 2004. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo was found guilty of two counts of crimes against humanity (murder and rape) and three counts of war crimes (murder, rape, and pillaging) in March 2016. Appeals and victims’ reparations remain pending.

Bemba, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidèle Babala Wandu, and Narcisse Arido, were found guilty of offences against the administration of justice allegedly committed in connection with the case above and received sentences ranging from six months to two years, along with fines of EUR 300,000 for Bemba and EUR 30,000 for Aimé Kilolo Musamba. The case is now at the appeals stage.

Central African Republic (II)
The Government of CAR referred this situation to the ICC in May 2014. The situation focuses on alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed since 1 August 2012, in the context of the conflict between Muslim Séléka and Christian anti-balaka groups. The situation continues to be investigated.

Côte d’Ivoire
The trial of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé began in January 2016. Both are accused of four counts of crimes against humanity and remain in the Court’s custody. The case against Simone Gbagbo remains at the pre-trial stage as she is not in the Court’s custody.

Darfur, Sudan
There has been no changes in the four cases concerning the situation in Darfur, Sudan where the suspects, Ahmad Harun, Ali Kushayb, Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir, Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain, and Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein, remain at large.

Democratic Republic of the Congo
In 2012, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo was convicted and sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment. In December 2017, a decision set the amount of his liability for collective reparations at US$10,000,000.

In the case of the Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, Ngudjolo Chui was acquitted in 2012, while Katanga was sentenced to twelve years in 2014, and was transferred to a prison facility in DRC the following year. In March 2017, individual and collective reparations were awarded to the victims of his crimes.

The trial of Bosco Ntaganda continues. Ntaganda is accused of 13 counts of war crimes, and five counts of crimes against humanity. Over two thousand victims have been granted the right to participate in the trial.

An arrest warrant was issued for Sylvestre Mudacumura in 2012, but he remains at large.

At the end of January 2016, the Prosecutor opened an investigation into crimes allegedly committed in and around South Ossetia, Georgia in 2008.

The cases of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled remain in the Pre-Trial stage, pending their transfers to the Court.

Arrest warrants for Walter Osapiri Barasa, Paul Gicheru and Philip Kipkoech Bett for various offences against the administration of justice remain outstanding.

In September 2016, Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi was found guilty of the war crime of intentionally attacking historic monuments and religious buildings in September and was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment. The case is in the victims’ reparations stage.

The suspects Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti remain at large and their case remains pending.

The trial of Dominic Ongwen began in December 2016 and the Prosecution continues to present their case. Over 4000 victims have been granted the right to participate in the trial.

To date, 124 countries have ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

At the end of October, Burundi, under preliminary examination by the Court since 2015, withdrew from the Rome Statute, the first country to do so. However, the Office of the Prosecutor had already been asked
for, and granted, the authority to begin an investigation into the situation in Burundi. This investigation was made public in November.

Additionally in November, Prosecutor Bensouda requested judicial authorization to commence an investigation into the situation in Afghanistan.

The annual meetings of the ICC Assembly of States Parties took place December 4 to 14 in New York. This year’s ASP meeting included the elections for six judges, six members of the Committee on Budget and Finance, and a Registrar. Planning has begun for the July 2018 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute.

At the December Assembly, states parties adopted a consensus resolution on the activation of the jurisdiction of the Court over the crime of aggression, which will come into effect as of 17 July 2018.

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