Week 3 Blog Post

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.

2 thoughts on “Week 3 Blog Post

  1. The ICC jurisdiction within the Democratic Republic of the Congo is greatly needed, as well as governmental organization and planning to regain peace among the different peoples of Africa. The ICC jurisdiction is needed in order to restore political groups that have gone rogue, causing for the human rights violations of the people in the community. When political,or governmental parties, are causing harm to the community the ICC needs to become involved in order to properly assist and restore justice to the people with proper ideologies. The other aspect of the case in the DRC is the conflict over resources due to an influx of refugees from Rwanda. The re positioning of refugees from Rwanda should have had better governmental planning in order to place the refugees in areas with proper resources. This lackluster restoration for Rwanda refugees by the African Government is something that needs to be overseen by the ICC in order to separate conflicting groups to further restore peace.

  2. I would also agree that the ICC should have jurisdiction over the ongoing conflict and crisis within the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With that being said I can see some significant barriers with the ICC’s hesitation on their involvement. One of the significant points made by “killa11” was the ICC’s responsibility to assist with restoration for refugees from the 1994 Rwandan genocide crisis. It appears that there has been little to no governmental planning in assisting in placement and resources for the refugees. Considering this is an active case with the ICC, if they were to utilize their jurisdiction to allocate resources and charge the responsible individuals, would the ICC be expected to intervene in future conflicts resulting in mass refugees? Off the top of my head it reminds of a similar conflict in present day Syria. Should the ICC be involved with the crimes against humanity resulting in thousands of displaced refugees? I would argue yes, but it would a huge undertaking that would require cooperation among international communities.

    Another concern I have would be how efficient the ICC would be in bringing charges against anyone until after the revisions to the 1998 Rome Convention. Currently the ICC has had very limited success convicting individuals for acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes because the 1998 Rome Convention did not identify a unified definition of crime. This makes the previous mentioned acts of horrendous crime including “rape, torture, forced displacement, illegal use of child soldiers, murder, attempted murder; wilful killing; attacking civilians, sexual slavery, mutilation, cruel treatment” open for interpretation which makes it very difficult to successfully convict any any court of law.

    Again I completely agree that there SHOULD be enough evidence to prosecute individuals for these heinous crimes but because there is such a systematic problem with definition of crime, prosecuting too early would create a strong defense for the individuals charged. If the ICC abstains from charging the individuals until after 2017 when a more clear and concise definition of crime, they will meet very clear criteria for violating the law.

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