International Criminal Court Cases in Africa: Status and Policy Issues
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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The International Criminal Court ICC, established in 2002, has to-date initiated investigations exclusively in Sub-Saharan Africa. The ICC Prosecutor has opened cases against 16 individuals for alleged crimes in northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, and the Darfur region of Sudan. In addition, the Prosecutor is analyzing situations-a preliminary step toward initiating a full investigationin Kenya, Coete dIvoire, and Chad, as well as in Colombia, Afghanistan, and Georgia. Recent congressional interest in the work of the ICC in Africa has arisen from concern over gross human rights violations on the African continent and beyond. On March 4, 2009, ICC judges issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al- Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The case against Bashir represents the first attempt by the ICC to prosecute a sitting head of state. The prosecution has drawn praise from human rights advocates as a step toward ending impunity for serious human rights abuses in Africa. However, it also has raised concerns that ICC actions could endanger peace processes in Darfur and southern Sudan. Additional fears that the ICC could imperil international humanitarian operations in Sudan were heightened when the Sudanese government responded to the warrant by expelling international relief agencies.
- Sociology and Law