Friday, December 17, 2010

International Criminal Court ICC Has Indicted 17 Africans

Nairobi — The International Criminal Court indicts people on account of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes pursuant to the Rome Statute.

One stands indicted when a Pre-Trial chamber issues either an arrest warrant or summons after the special court establishes that "there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person has committed a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court".

Summons are issued if the chamber is satisfied that a suspect will appear voluntarily while an arrest warrant is issued where it appears necessary "to ensure the person's appearance for trial".

The ICC has so far indicted 17 Africans on crimes committed in Uganda (5), Darfur (6), DR Congo (5) and one from the Central Africa Republic.

The following are some of the most famous people so far indicted.
Omar Hassan Ahmad al Bashir - The president of Sudan is the highest ranking indictee of the ICC in Africa. A warrant of his arrest was issued on March 4, 2009 for crimes committed by the army and allied militia in the western region of Darfur where rebels are fighting for autonomy.

Born on January 1, 1944, al Bashir was elected president in 1993 having come to power as head of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation in a 1989 coup.

His warrant of arrest lists 10 counts on the basis of his individual criminal responsibility under Article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute as an indirect co-perpetrator.

They include:
Five counts of crimes against humanity: murder - extermination, forcible transfer, torture, and rape.

Two counts of war crimes: intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking part in hostilities -Article 8(2)(e)(i) and pillaging - Article 8(2)(e)(v).

Three counts of genocide: genocide by killing (article 6-a), genocide by causing serious bodily or mental harm (article 6-b) and genocide by deliberately inflicting on each target group conditions of life calculated to bring about the group's physical destruction (article 6-c). He is still at large.

Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo - Bemba is a former rebel leader who became vice president of DR Congo in a unity government. He was indicted on May 23, 2008 and was arrested by Belgian authorities the following day.

Born on November 4, 1962 in Bokada, Equateur Province, Bemba is allegedly responsible, as military commander, of two counts of crimes against humanity: murder (article 7(1)(a) and rape (article 7(1)(g) of the Rome Statute.

Although his rebel soldiers were accused of crimes against humanity during the DR Congo war in the early 2000s, his indictment relates to his decision to send his fighters to join a violent power struggle in neighbouring Congo where they committed further atrocities.

Thomas Lubanga Dyilo - He is another rebel leader who was active in the DR Congo conflict beginning 2002. His trial is still ongoing.

A sealed warrant of arrest was issued against him on February 10, 2006 which was unsealed on March 17, 2006. Mr Lubanga is charged as a co-perpetrator of war crimes.

He is also accused of conscripting, enlisting and using child soldiers in his rebel army.

The court halted the proceedings against Lubanga in June 2008 but after appeals by the prosecutor, the court's Trial Chamber reinstated the proceedings.

At issue were some 200 documents his defence lawyers demanded from the prosecution. They contained evidence that might help the defence to prove Lubanga's innocence.

The prosecutor said he could not share the documents because they were obtained through confidentiality agreements and did not have consent to share them.

Lubanga's crimes are punishable under article 8(2)(b)(xxvi) and article 8(2)(e)(vii) of the Rome Statute. The DRC authorities arrested Lubanga in March 2005 and transferred him to ICC in March 2006.

Bahar Idriss Abu Garda - A sealed warrant of arrest was issued against Garda on May 7, 2009 but was unsealed ten days later, on May 17. Born in Nana, North Darfur, Garda was identified by the ICC as the chairman and general coordinator of military operations of the United Resistance Front, a Darfur rebel group.

Pre-Trial Chamber I is of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Garda is criminally responsible as a co-sponsor or as an indirect co-sponsor for three war crimes under article 25(3)(a).

African News Desk - Current World News

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