By Monique Cuillerier
The International Criminal Court is currently engaged in seven preliminary examinations and has fifteen situations under investigation. Preliminary examinations are currently being conducted in Bolivia, Colombia, Guinea, Nigeria, Ukraine, and there are two separate examinations in Venezuela.
In March 2020, the Prosecutor was authorized to begin an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes since 2003 in Afghanistan, as well as other alleged crimes committed on the territory of other States Parties since 2002 but linked to the conflict in Afghanistan. In May 2021, the Prosecutor, then Fatou Bensouda and her team, met with a high-level delegation from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Given more recent events, the state of the investigation is uncertain.
In November 2019, an investigation into alleged crimes of deportation, persecution, and any other crimes relevant to the Court against the Rohingya people was begun. In February, a delegation from the Court traveled to Bangladesh to explain to the public how investigations are conducted. A redacted, public version of the “Registry’s Second Report on Information and Outreach Activities” regarding this situation was made available in December 2020.
An investigation into crimes under the Rome Statute that may have occurred in Burundi was authorized in 2017 and currently focuses on alleged crimes between 2015 and 2017. The investigation is focused on alleged crimes of murder and attempted murder, imprisonment or severe deprivation of liberty, torture, rape, enforced disappearance, and persecution.
Central African Republic
The Government of CAR referred this situation to the Court 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. An arrest warrant was issued in November 2018 for Alfred Yekatom and he was surrendered to the Court shortly thereafter. A further arrest warrant, for Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona, was issued in December 2018 and he was arrested five days later. The two cases were joined in February 2019. The trial began in February 2021 and the Prosecution is currently presenting its evidence. Mahamat Said Abdel Kani was surrendered to the Court on January 24 2021. The opening of the confirmation of charges hearing is scheduled for October 5 2021.
The cases of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé, charged with crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Côte d’Ivoire in 2010 and 2011, were joined in March 2015 and the trial began in January 2016. In January 2019, both were acquitted and the Appeals Chamber confirmed the acquittal in March. Gbagbo and Blé Goudé have returned to Côte d’Ivoire. The case against Simone Gbagbo has been vacated following the acquittals of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé.
The situation in Darfur, Sudan was referred to the Court by the UN Security Council in March 2005. There are several open cases concerning the situation in Darfur, Sudan with four suspects — Ahmad Harun, Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir, Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain, and Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein — who remain at large. Recently, Sudan has pledged to send Al Bashir to the Court, but no actions have been taken yet. Ali Muhammad Ali Abd–Al-Rahman surrendered himself to the Court in June 2020 and the confirmation of charges hearing took place in May 2021. In July 2021, the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity were confirmed and the trial is now scheduled to begin April 5, 2022.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
In 2012, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo was convicted and sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment. He was transferred to a prison in DRC in 2015 where he continues to serve his sentence. Implementation of the collective reparations decision continues. The trial of Bosco Ntaganda began in September 2015 and he was found guilty in July 2019 of 18 counts of war crimes, and crimes against humanity committed in Ituri, DRC between 2002 and 2003. In early November 2019, Ntaganda was sentenced to thirty years imprisonment and in March 2021, the conviction and sentence were confirmed on appeal. Reparations to victims were also ordered in March. The Trust Fund for Victims will design and submit an implementation plan to the Court. Ntaganda remains in the ICC detention center in The Hague pending a decision as to where he will serve his sentence. Sylvestre Mudacumura, for whom an arrest warrant was issued in 2012, remains at large.
An investigation into crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in and around South Ossetia, Georgia in 2008 was begun in January 2016 and continues.
Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf Al-Werfalli, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, and Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled all remain at large and, as such, their cases remain pending.
Arrest warrants for Walter Osapiri Barasa and Philip Kipkoech Bett for various offences against the administration of justice remain outstanding. Paul Gicheru surrendered in November 2020. Charges were confirmed, for offences against the administration of justice, and Gicheru has been committed to trial. These offences were allegedly committed to undermine the Prosecution in the Ruto and Sang case, which ended without charges being confirmed.
Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud was surrendered to Court’s custody in March 2018. His trial, which began in July 2020, is ongoing.
The Prosecutor’s request to begin an investigation in relation to crimes on the territory of the Philippines between 2011 and 2019 in the context of the so-called ‘war on drugs’ campaign was granted on September 15, 2021.
The case against Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti remains pending as they are still at large. The trial of Dominic Ongwen began in December 2016 and a judgement was delivered in February 2021. Ongwen was found guilty on 61 counts. The Defence has submitted a notification of intent to appeal. Additionally, the reparations phase has begun.
123 countries have ratified the Rome Statute — 33 in Africa, 19 in the Asia-Pacific area, 18 in Eastern Europe, 28 in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 25 in Western Europe and other states.