World war crimes court probes in Africa
The Ivory Coast is the seventh African country where a probe has been launched by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which was set up in The Hague in 2002.
The court's prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo was given the green light Monday to probe alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by troops loyal to long-time leader Laurent Gbagbo and newly-elected Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara after violence wracked the country following disputed presidential polls in November 2010. Some 3,000 were killed in the bloody conflict, which was sparked after Gbagbo refused to step down.
The court on June 27 announced arrest warrants against former Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi, his son Seif al-Islam and security services chief Abdullah al-Senussi, suspected of crimes against humanity committed after the rebellion which toppled Kadhafi's regime broke out in mid-February. Interpol issued "red notices" in September on the ICC warrants, as well as one against another Kadhafi son Saadi, who is wanted by the Libyan authorities. Libyan rebels took power on August 23 in Tripoli, backed by NATO air strikes.
Moreno-Ocampo revealed the names of six men on December 10 last year, including the country's Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, who he said were suspected of being the main figures behind Kenya's post-election violence in 2007-08 which claimed 1,200 lives. A hearing to see if charges against Kenyatta and others will be confirmed started in September.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is facing an arrest warrant for crimes against humanity and war crimes, committed in the western region of Darfur. Torn by civil war since 2003, some 300,000 died in the fighting according to UN figures, while Khartoum puts the figure at 10,000. In 2010, the ICC also added a genocide charge against Bashir. Two arrest warrants have also been issued against a former minister and a militia leader.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
The ICC reached a milestone with the end of its first trial in August against former militia chief Thomas Lubanga, accused of war crimes for enrolling child soldiers in 2002-2003. He is awaiting judgement.
Congolese militia leaders Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes have been before the court for an attack on a village in 2003.
Senior Rwandan rebel leader Callixte Mbarushimana, suspected of crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Kivu provinces in the eastern DRC, has been imprisoned in The Hague since 2009. He is awaiting trial.
Former Congolese deputy president Jean-Pierre Bemba has been in detention in The Hague since 2008, suspected on war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by his Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC) rebels in the neighbouring Central African Republic between October 2002 and March 2003. Bemba's troops supported CAR President Ange-Felix Patasse against a rebellion led by former army chief-of-staff Francois Bozize.
The ICC in 2005 issued arrest warrants against Joseph Kony and other top commanders of the notorious Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) for crimes against humanity and war crimes including the enlisting of child soldiers and sexual slavery, committed between 2002 and 2004.
© 2011 AFP