international criminal court cases
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1. The Prosecutor v. Dominic Ongwen
Dominic Ongwen, a Ugandan national, stands on trial accused of 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
War crimes include murder and attempted murder, rape, sexual slavery, torture, destruction of property.
Crimes against humanity include murder and attempted murder, torture, sexual slavery, rape, persecution and other inhumane acts.
He is the ex-commander of one of four brigades of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA is armed rebel group active since 1987 operating in Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ongwen’s brigade was responsible for military strategy. During 2002 to 2004, the LRA are accused of directing attacks towards the Ugandan army and the civilian population in northern Uganda. These attacks include murder, abduction, sexual enslavement, mutilation, mass burning of houses and looting of camp settlements.
In Ongwen’s capacity as commander of the Sinia Brigade of the LRA, he would have ordered the commission of the aforementioned crimes.
Ongwen is also accused that between 2002 to 2005, as part of the LRA’s strategy, he abducted women and girls used as forced wives and sex slaves. These women and girls are also alleged to be tortured and raped.
He is currently detained at the International Criminal Court. The trial started on the 6th December 2016.
2. The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi
Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, an ethnic Tuareg born in Mali, was found guilty in September 2016 of intentionally directing attacks against historic monuments in Timbuktu, Mali.
According to the Rome Statute that formed the International Criminal Court, to which Mali is a party to, perpetration and co-perpetration, soliciting and inducing, assisting and contributing the destruction of buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science, historic buildings and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not military objectives, constitutes a war crime.
Al Mahdi was found guilty of the destruction of 9 mausoleums and 1 mosque (door) in Timbuktu, Mali between June 2012 and July 2012. They were targeted because of their cultural and historical significance, and were either completely destroyed or severely damaged.
Al Mahdi was a member of Ansar Eddine, an armed Islamic group associated with Al-Qaeda. He was made head of “Hisbah”, a body of Ansar Eddine responsible to uphold morals.
In his capacity of head of Hisbah, he was allegedly responsible for co-ordinating and directing the attacks.
He was found guilty of these war crimes, and was sentenced to 9 years in prison in September 2016.
3. The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda
Bosco Ntaganda, a Congolese national from the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a former deputy chief of staff and commander of operations of the armed militia group FPLC (Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo). He stands trial accused of 13 counts of war crimes and 5 counts of crimes against humanity.
War crimes include murder and attempted murder, attacking civilians, rape, sexual slavery, attacking protected objects, conscription of child soldiers under the age of 15 and using them to participate in combat.
Crimes against humanity include murder, rape, sexual slavery and forced transfer of population.
Attacks were targeted towards civilians from the non-Hema ethnic group, such as the Lendu, Bira and Nande by the FPLC predominately in the north-eastern province of Ituri, DR Congo.
Whilst the Ituri conflict has been allegedly ongoing since 1999, the International Criminal Court only has jurisdiction over alleged crimes between 2002 onwards, due to the ratification of the Rome Statute and formation of the International Criminal Court in 2002.
Ntaganda in his position as deputy chief of staff and commander of operations for the FPLC, bears individual responsibility over direct perpetration, indirect co-perpetration, ordering, inducing, and contribution to the commission of crimes committed between 2002 and 2003 in DR Congo.
Trial began on September 2015. The trial continues.
4. The Prosecutor v. Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé
Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé are Ivorian nationals that are both accused of four counts of crimes against humanity.
Crimes against humanity include murder, rape, other inhumane acts and persecution. These crimes were allegedly committed between 2010 and 2011 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Laurent Gbagbo is the former President of the Ivory Coast, in office since 2000. In 2010 a presidential election was held, in which it was announced by the Ivorian Election Commission that Alassane Ouattara had won with 54.1% of the vote. The President of the Constitutional Council announced the Ivorian Election Commission had no authority to announce the results as they missed the deadline to announce them, and therefore the result was invalid.
This sparked violent protests from both pro-Gbagbo and pro-Ouattara supporters where armed militias and security forces were deployed on the streets in which approximately 3,000 people lost their lives.
Gbagbo’s position as the former head of state is accused of bearing individual criminal responsibility for ordering, soliciting and inducing of crimes against humanity.
Charles Blé Goudé is a former minister of the Ivory Coast and close ally of Gbagbo. Due to his position as the creator of the Young Patriots, a pro-Gbagbo organisation that is alleged to have sparked violence against pro-Ouattara supporters, Goudé bears individual criminal responsibility for co-perpetration, ordering, soliciting, inducing, aiding, abetting, or contributing in any other way to the commission of crimes against humanity.
The charges were confirmed individually in 2014 by the court. The cases merged in March 2015. Trial opened in January 2016. The trial continues.
5. The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo
Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, a Congolese national who was the President of a rebel group turned political party “Movement for the Liberation of Congo” (MLC), and commander in chief of the Army for the Liberation of Congo (ALC) was convicted of two counts of crimes against humanity (murder, rape) and three counts of war crimes (murder, rape, pillaging) in the Central African Republic. He was found guilty of these charges in March 2016.
Bemba was a successful businessman who was one of the richest men in DR Congo. As leader of the MLC formed in 1998 backed by the Ugandan government, he aimed to overthrow the incumbent DR Congo government. It ended in a stalemate, and as part of a peace agreement that ended the Second Congo War, named one of the deadliest wars in modern African history, Bemba became one of four Vice Presidents of DR Congo around 2003.
This led to the MLC reshaping its identity as a political party, in which Bemba came second in the 2006 Presidential election.
In 2002 when the MLC were not formed as a political party, Bemba was asked by the incumbent President of the Central African Republic (CAR), Ange-Félix Patassé, to assist the CAR government in defending against a coup d’état by the rebel leader François Bozizé.
Around 1,500 men of the MLC were deployed by Bemba into the CAR. It led to an armed conflict between MLC and CAR government on one side, and Bozizé’s rebels on another.
The MLC directed a widespread attack on the CAR population, committing acts of pillaging, rape and murder against civilians over a large geographical area.
Bemba as the acting military commander of MLC forces, knew that these crimes were being committed, and failed to take all necessary measures to prevent or repress the commission of crimes.
He was found guilty of his failure to exercise control during the 2002-2003 CAR operation, and was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment in June 2016.
6. The Prosecutor v. Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir
Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir, a Sudanese national who is the incumbent President of the Republic of Sudan since October 1993. Pre-Trial Chamber I at the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Al Bashir under 10 counts of suspected crimes: five counts of crimes against humanity, two counts of war crimes and three counts of genocide.
Crimes against humanity include murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape.
War crimes include intentionally directing attacks against civilians and pillaging.
Three counts of genocide include genocide by killing, genocide by causing bodily or mental harm, and genocide by deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction.
Al Bashir successfully overthrew the democratically elected Prime minister of Sudan, Sadiq al-Mahdi in 1989. Al Bashir was the leader of the military coup.
Darfur is a region in western Sudan. Darfur is home to many of Sudan’s ethnic groups, including the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa groups.
Between March 2003 and July 2008, an armed conflict occurred in Darfur between the government of Sudan and organised armed groups, including the Sudanese Liberation Army/Movement and the Justice for Equality Movement (JEM).
The Government of Sudan attacked a large number of civilians in Darfur, and in particular the ethnic groups of the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa. The belief was that these groups were supporting the organised armed groups.
Between the dates of the conflict (2003-2008), it is alleged that the government of Sudan committed crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of genocide. Alleged attacks include pillaging on towns and villages, acts of murder and extermination, raping women, subjecting civilians to acts of torture and forced transfer, contaminating the wells and waters of the towns.
Al Bashir in his capacity as President of Sudan and commander in chief of the Sudanese army, is responsible for playing an essential role in the implementation and co-ordination of crimes.
Al Bashir is the first sitting President to be indicted by the International Criminal Court. Article 27 of the Rome Statute states that the statute shall apply to all persons, irrelevant of a person’s official capacity. Despite an arrest warrant issued in 2009, and a second issued in 2010, Al Bashir is still at large and is not in the custody of the International Criminal Court.