Has the International Criminal Court become irrelevant in Africa? Observers would debate this. But like it or not the court is still nominally accepted by many countries in Africa – DR Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Nigeria, among others.
Today we look at some of the outstanding warrants issued by The Hague court:
Joseph Kony – The Lord’s Resistance Army leader is still on the run more than a decade after his indictment in 2005 and after years of being hunted by Ugandan, US and Congolese troops. In recent years he is reported to have been sighted in remote parts of Sudan but his present whereabouts are unknown. The ICC says he led a brutal campaign of atrocities against civilians in Uganda featuring murder, abduction, mutilation, sexual enslavement and mass burnings of houses.
Vincent Otti – Otti served as Kony’s deputy and is accused of the same crimes as Kony. According to some reports, Otti was executed on Kony’s orders in 2007, but because his death has not been independently verified, the Court still considers him to be at large as a fugitive.
Ahmed Haroun – Sudan’s current Governor of North Kordofan state, Haroun has been wanted by the ICC since 2007 for his alleged role in mobilizing the infamous Janjaweed militia in Darfur. At the outset of the Darfur crisis, Haroun served as a junior minister, but since his indictment he has been promoted to a ministerial role and later two different governorships. He continues to travel internationally.
Ali Kushayb – Another Sudanese, Kushayb is a tribal leader who allegedly commanded thousands of Janjaweed during the Darfur war in 2003-2004. He is accused of overseeing brutal attacks on villages.
Omar al-Bashir – Although indicted on charges of genocide and war crimes, Sudan’s president has continued to travel widely. However, he left South Africa hurriedly during an African Union summit in 2015 when the country’s high court ordered him arrested in compliance with the ICC warrant.
Abdel Rahim Hussein – Sudan’s former defense minister and current governor of Khartoum is also wanted by the ICC for alleged war crimes in Darfur.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi – The son of Libya’s ousted dictator is wanted by the ICC for an allegedly murderous crackdown on dissidents at the outset of the Libyan civil war. He was captured by Libyan revolutionaries in 2011 and is now held by the country’s new government. Authorities there have declined to hand him over to the ICC for trial.
Syvestre Mudacumura – A Hutu power leader who commanded the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, Mudacumura is wanted for war crimes in Congo’s Kivu provinces. He is thought to remain in the leadership of the rebel group in eastern Congo.
Walter Barasa – The ICC is seeking to try a Kenyan journalist on the charge of witness tampering for allegedly offering bribes to prosecution witnesses in the case against Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto, which has been withdrawn for lack of evidence. Barasa hails from Ruto’s home town of Eldoret in northwest Kenya.
Philip Bett and Paul Gicheru – Another two men are wanted in a related case in Kenya for allegedly “corruptly influencing witnesses” in the ICC case against Deputy President William Ruto. Gicheru, a lawyer, and his alleged accomplice Bett are accused of bribing witnesses to persuade them to withdraw their evidence. The ICC has declined to accept the jurisdiction of Kenyan courts in the case, saying that an effective national prosecution is unlikely.
Besides these so-called “fugitives”, the International Criminal Court has completed proceedings against 17 others. Three cases have been convicted, one has been acquitted, six have had the charges against them dismissed, two have had the charges against them withdrawn, one has had his case declared inadmissible, and four have died before trial.