I chose the the case currently open in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The DRC is located in the African Great Lakes region of Central Africa, and is the second largest country in Africa. The DRC ratified the Rome Statute in April of 2002, and presented their case, starting in July 2002, to the ICC in April 2004. The “current regional focus” would include the Ituri region, and North and South Kivu provinces. One contribution to inner turmoil in these regions is due to the effects still felt by the Kivu provinces from the 1994 influx of refugees from Rwanda. In the North of the Ituri district, competition and struggle for resources and ethnic tensions resulted in a deadly conflict in 1999. The involvement of regional political actors and agendas are seen to be responsible for the “local ethnic dynamics” turning into massive slaughter, according the the United Nations Mission in Congo.
The main focus of the ICC in the DRC, are centered around alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Ituri region and North and South Kivu Provinces. These investigations have been going on since June 2004, but are starting from July 2002. In fact, a press release was issued by the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor, acknowledging that “alleged crimes were reported since the 1990’s, but that the Court’s jurisdiction started on 1 July 2002.” He also stated that all sorts of organizations and States “reported thousands of deaths by mass murder, and summary execution in the DRC since 2002. The reports allege a pattern of rape, torture, forced displacement and the illegal use of child soldiers.” This specific investigation led to numerous cases that had involved charges with horrific, traumatizing crimes. Some of the crimes listed are as followed:
War crimes: enlisting and conscripting child soldiers under the age of fifteen years and using them to participate actively in hostilities; murder and attempted murder; wilful killing; attacking civilians; rape; sexual slavery; mutilation; cruel treatment; torture; etc. Not to mention crimes against humanity which is a whole nother list. I believe 100% that the ICC should have jurisdiction here. There are a horrendous amount of war crimes, cruel, unimaginable war crimes being carried out. They have been pursuing for decades. They are in a constant state of chaos, and it has not gotten better. So many of the people who are ordering or committing these crimes against humanity aren’t being held responsible, and aren’t being punished for what they’ve done. If anyone can hold them accountable, why shouldn’t be the ICC? Clearly there aren’t any other entities or governments taking the initiative that’s clearly needed.