Situations & Cases - Overview

Situations & Cases - Overview

Afghanistan

Preliminary Examinations, Admissibility Assessment

Background

The Preliminary Examination of the Situation in Afghanistan focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during the ongoing armed conflict which involves international military forces (International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, U.S. forces), Afghan government forces, and armed anti-government groups such as the Taliban. After Al-Qaeda terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, DC on September 11, 2001, the U.S. launched the “War on Terror.” The U.S. demanded that the Taliban government of Afghanistan surrender Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and stop Al-Qaeda terrorist operations in Afghanistan. In October 2001, a U.S.-led coalition of forces invaded Afghanistan and attacked the Taliban government and Al-Qaeda terrorists. In December 2001, the Taliban government was ousted, and the UN assisted with the formation of the Afghan Interim Administration. In the course of the conflict, from 2001 to 2015, civilians were killed and injured by international forces, Afghan government forces, and Taliban and other armed anti-government groups. 

ICC Status

Afghanistan is a State Party of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome Statute on February 10, 2003. After receiving communications since June 2006 of alleged atrocity crimes committed in Afghanistan, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) made public its preliminary examination in 2007.  After opening a preliminary examination, to make a determination to open a formal investigation, the OTP assesses the following factors: jurisdiction (temporal, territorial or personal, and subject matter); admissibility (complementarity and gravity); and the interests of justice. 

As of November 2016, the preliminary examination of Afghanistan is in the admissibility assessment phase. The OTP reported that the OTP “is concluding its assessment of factors set out in article 53(1)(a)-(c) and will make a final decision on whether to request the Pre-Trial Chamber authorization to commence an investigation . . . imminently.”

For more information on the preliminary examination in Afghanistan, please visit the ICC page.

Burundi

Preliminary Examinations, Subject Matter Jurisdiction Assessement

Background  

The Preliminary Examination of the Situation in Burundi focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during a political crisis which involved Burundi government forces, pro-government armed groups (CNDD-FDD-ruling political party, Imbonerakure-CNDD-FDD’s youth wing), and protest groups (opposition political parties and citizens). The political crisis occurred from April 2015 to the present. 

On April 25, 2015, President Pierre Nkurunziza announced that he would run for a third term which sparked violent clashes between Burundi government forces and protesters and an attempted military coup. Protesters argued that Nkurunziza was barred from running for a third term under the constitution which states the president may only serve two terms. Nkurunziza supporters argued that his first term was by parliamentary vote not by electoral vote, so he had only served one term by election and was eligible to run for another term by election. On July 21, 2015, amidst shootings and explosions, the presidential election was held. On July 24, 2015, President Nkurunziza was re-elected. Burundi government forces and pro-government armed groups, particularly the Imbonerakure, sought to gain control through killings, torture, forced disappearances, and forced detentions, and targeted women for rape, sexual violence, and mutilations. In addition to the killing of an opposition leader in May 2015, an opposition spokesperson and an opposition leader were killed in September 2015. The UN Independent Investigation on Burundi (UNIIB) reported that the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) verified 564 executions (April 2015 to August 2016).

ICC Status  

Burundi was a State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome Statute on September 21, 2004. On April 25, 2016, after receiving communications of alleged atrocity crimes committed in Burundi, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary examination. In October 2016, Burundi’s Parliament voted to withdraw from the ICC and notified the UN Secretary General of the withdrawal. Withdrawal from the ICC becomes effective one year after withdrawal notification to the UN Secretary General, unless otherwise specified, under Article 127(1) of the Rome Statute, and a State is not discharged, by reason of its withdrawal, from its obligations under the Rome Statute including the duty to cooperate with investigations and proceedings which were commenced prior to the date on which the withdrawal became effective under Article 127(2) of the Rome Statute.

As of November 2016, the preliminary examination of Burundi is in the subject-matter jurisdiction assessment phase.      

For more information on the preliminary examination in Burundi, please visit the ICC page.

Cambodia

Preliminary Examinations, Closed - Decision Not to Proceed

Background

The Preliminary Examination of the Situation in the registered vessels of Comoros, Greece, and Cambodia focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during a violent interception of the ships which involved Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and civilian passengers on the ships. The violent interception of the ships occurred on May 31, 2010.

In 1948, with the official end of Great Britain’s colonial mandate and the declaration of Israel’s independence as a state, the League of Arab States declared it would protect the rights of Palestinians and attacked Israel. Israel defense forces repelled the Arab forces. In 1967, in the Six-Day War, Israel again defeated Arab forces and gained control of the Sinai Peninsula (later returned to Egypt), the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. Israel’s control of these territories has led to a decades-long conflict with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In 2005, Israel withdrew its military forces and settlers from Gaza but maintained control over the territory through a border barrier as well as a naval blockade. The Free Gaza Movement periodically sent flotillas to break the blockade and deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza.

On May 28, 2010, a flotilla of ships embarked upon the journey to Gaza from Turkey. The flotilla carried over 700 passengers, mainly pro-Palestinian activists and humanitarian aid workers, from 36 countries. On May 31, 2010, the IDF boarded the ships to enforce Israel’s blockade, and the IDF fired upon civilian passengers which resulted in the deaths of ten civilians (nine Turkish citizens and one dual Turkish-American citizen) and injuries to humanitarian aid workers. On June 1, 2010, the UN Security Council called for an investigation into the IDF attack on the flotilla.

ICC status

Cambodia is a State Party of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome Statute on April 11, 2002. On May 14, 2013, after receiving a referral (dated May 14, 2013) from the government of Comoros of alleged atrocity crimes committed on its territory, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary examination. On November 6, 2014, the OTP closed the preliminary examination on the basis that the admissibility requirement had not been met (the cases would not be of sufficient gravity). On July 16, 2015, at Comoros’ request for review of the OTP’s decision, Pre-Trial Chamber I held that the OTP had made errors in its assessment that the admissibility requirement had not been met and requested that the OTP reconsider its decision. On November 6, 2015, at the OTP’s appeal of the Pre-Trial Chamber’s decision, the Appeals Chamber held that the OTP’s appeal was not admissible without considering the merits and dismissed the OTP’s appeal. Further, the Appeals Chamber held that though the Pre-Trial Chamber may request OTP’s reconsideration of its decision, the Pre-Trial Chamber may not compel the OTP’s reconsideration.

As of November 2016, the OTP reported that the OTP had conducted a de novo review and is preparing to issue its final decision in the near future.

For more information on the preliminary examination in Cambodia, please visit the ICC page.

Background

The Situation in the Central African Republic I (CAR I) focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during an armed conflict which involved CAR government forces under President Ange‐Felix Patasse, rebel forces under General Francois Bozize, and the Mouvement de Libération du Congo (MLC). The armed conflict occurred from October 26, 2002 to March 15, 2003.

In 1960, the CAR gained independence from France. From the 1960s to the 1990s, CAR leaders ruled as dictators and were replaced in military coups. In 1993, in the CAR’s first multi-party democratic elections, President Patasse was elected. Despite the initial excitement over the CAR’s first peaceful transition of power, factions of the military attempted to overthrow President Patasse in 1996 and 1997. In October 2001, after another military coup attempt, President Patasse attempted to arrest the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, General Bozize, on suspicion of his involvement with the coup. President Patasse-led government forces clashed with General Bozize-led rebel forces.

On October 25, 2002, General Bozize-led rebel forces again clashed with President Patasse-led CAR government forces, which were supported by Libyan forces and MLC forces. The MLC was a rebel armed group formed by Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo to overthrow the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Mr. Bemba and President Patasse made an agreement that MLC forces would support CAR forces in exchange for the CAR government not supporting the DRC government. The MLC attacked General Bozize-led rebel forces and civilians, pillaged villages, and targeted men, women, and children for rape and sexual violence. On March 15, 2003, General Bozize-led rebel forces marched into Bangui and blocked President Patasse from returning. General Bozize declared himself president. President Bozize was elected in 2005 and, after numerous delays, re-elected in 2011.

ICC Status

The CAR is a State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome Statute on October 3, 2001. On December 22, 2004, after receiving a referral (dated December 22, 2004) from the government of the CAR of alleged atrocity crimes committed on its territory, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary investigation. On May 22, 2007, the OTP opened a formal investigation. Within the Situation in CAR I, there are the following cases: The Prosecutor v. Jean Pierre Bemba Gombo and The Prosecutor v. Bemba et al.

For more information on the Situation in CAR I, please visit the ICC page.

Background

The Situation in the Central African Republic II (CAR II) focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during an armed conflict which involved CAR government forces under President Francois Bozize, Seleka rebel armed group, and anti-balaka rebel armed group. The armed conflict occurred from August 1, 2012 to present.  

From 2005 to 2012, amidst growing public discontent with President Bozize’s policies, armed groups formed to overthrow the CAR government. In August 2012, Seleka was formed from Muslim armed groups, under Seleka leader Michel Djotodia, to overthrow President Bozize. On December 10, 2012, Seleka launched a rebellion. By late December, Seleka had taken over the northern and central regions of the CAR and advanced towards Bangui. On January 2, 2013, Seleka agreed to enter peace talks. On January 11, 2013, President Bozize and Seleka signed the Libreville agreement which established a ceasefire and a political transition process.

On March 23, 2013, Seleka attacked Bangui; President Bozize fled the country. On April 13, 2013, Seleka leader Djotodia was declared interim president. On September 13, 2013, under international pressure to control Seleka violence, President Djotodia announced the dissolution of Seleka. However, Seleka continued to attack Christian civilians and suspected anti-balaka supporters, pillage towns, and target men, women, and children for rape, sexual violence, and mutilations. In response to Seleka’s campaign of violence, Christian armed groups formed the anti-balaka (“anti-machete”) and began their own campaign of violence against Muslim civilians and suspected Seleka supporters. In January 2014, President Djotodia resigned and Catherine Samba-Panza was declared interim president. Despite peace attempts in July 2014 and May 2015, the conflict between Seleka and anti-balaka has continued unabated.

ICC Status

The CAR is a State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome Statute on October 3, 2001. On February 7, 2014, after receiving communications of alleged atrocity crimes committed in the CAR, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary investigation. On May 30, 2014, the CAR referred itself to the ICC. In a September 2014 report, the OTP determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the Seleka committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.  In the same report, the OTP determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe that anti-balaka committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. On September 24, 2014, the OTP opened a formal investigation. Within the Situation in CAR II, there are no cases.

For more information on the Situation in CAR II, please visit the ICC page.

Colombia

Preliminary Examinations, Admissibility Assessment

Background

The Preliminary Examination of the Situation in Colombia focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during an armed conflict which involved Colombian government forces, paramilitary groups, and guerilla armed groups such as the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias Colombianas - Ejericito del pueblo (FARC-EP) and the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN). The armed conflict occurred from the 1960s to September 2016, but this preliminary examination focuses on the period from November 1, 2002 to the present.  

In the 1960s, left-wing guerilla armed groups, such as FARC-EP and ELN, were formed to overthrow the Colombian government. In the 1980s, right-wing paramilitary groups were formed to combat the FARC-EP’s violence. Despite peace attempts in 1982 and 1998, the conflict escalated as Colombian government forces, paramilitary groups, and guerilla armed groups sought to gain control through killings, kidnappings, sexual violence, torture, forced disappearances, and forced detentions. Colombian government forces allegedly killed thousands of civilians, falsely claiming they were FARC and ELN guerillas killed in combat, to show successful or positive results (“false positives”) of the Colombian government’s policies. The National Centre of Historical Memory reported over 220,000 killed (from 1958 to 2012), 81.5% of which were civilians; over 25,000 missing persons (from 1958 to 2013); and over 27,000 kidnappings (from 1970 to 2010). On September 26, 2016, Colombian government and the FARC-EP signed a peace agreement which established a ceasefire and a transition process; later, Colombian voters rejected the agreement. On November 24, 2016, the Colombian government and FARC-EP leader signed a revised peace agreement; the Congress passed the agreement. On January 18, 2017, Colombia announced peace talks with the ELN in February.

ICC Status

Colombia is a State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome Statute on August 5, 2002. Colombia recognizes ICC jurisdiction over Rome Statute crimes since November 1, 2002, but, under a declaration pursuant to Article 124 of the Rome Statute, recognizes ICC jurisdiction over war crimes committed since November 1, 2009. In June 2004, after receiving communications of alleged atrocity crimes committed in Colombia, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary examination. In a November 2012 report, the OTP determined that there was a reasonable basis to believe that Colombian government forces, FARC-EP, ELN, and paramilitary groups committed crimes against humanity. In the same report, the OTP determined that Colombian government forces, FARC-EP, and ELN committed war crimes.

As of November 2016, the preliminary examination of Colombia is in the admissibility assessment phase.

For more information on the preliminary examination in Colombia, please visit the ICC page.

Comoros

Preliminary Examinations, Closed - Decision Not to Proceed

Background

The Preliminary Examination of the Situation in the registered vessels of Comoros, Greece, and Cambodia focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during a violent interception of the ships which involved Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and civilian passengers on the ships. The violent interception of the ships occurred on May 31, 2010.

In 1948, with the official end of Great Britain’s colonial mandate and the declaration of Israel’s independence as a state, the League of Arab States declared it would protect the rights of Palestinians and attacked Israel. Israel defense forces repelled the Arab forces. In 1967, in the Six-Day War, Israel again defeated Arab forces and gained control of the Sinai Peninsula (later returned to Egypt), the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. Israel’s control of these territories has led to a decades-long conflict with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In 2005, Israel withdrew its military forces and settlers from Gaza but maintained control over the territory through a border barrier as well as a naval blockade. The Free Gaza Movement periodically sent flotillas to break the blockade and deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza.

On May 28, 2010, a flotilla of ships embarked upon the journey to Gaza from Turkey. The flotilla carried over 700 passengers, mainly pro-Palestinian activists and humanitarian aid workers, from 36 countries. On May 31, 2010, the IDF boarded the ships to enforce Israel’s blockade, and the IDF fired upon civilian passengers which resulted in the deaths of ten civilians (nine Turkish citizens and one dual Turkish-American citizen) and injuries to humanitarian aid workers. On June 1, 2010, the UN Security Council called for an investigation into the IDF attack on the flotilla.

ICC status

Comoros is a State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome Statute on August 18, 2006. On May 14, 2013, after receiving a referral (dated May 14, 2013) from the government of Comoros of alleged atrocity crimes committed on its territory, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary examination. On November 6, 2014, the OTP closed the preliminary examination on the basis that the admissibility requirement had not been met (the cases would not be of sufficient gravity). On July 16, 2015, at Comoros’ request for review of the OTP’s decision, Pre-Trial Chamber I held that the OTP had made errors in its assessment that the admissibility requirement had not been met and requested that the OTP reconsider its decision. On November 6, 2015, at the OTP’s appeal of the Pre-Trial Chamber’s decision, the Appeals Chamber held that the OTP’s appeal was not admissible without considering the merits and dismissed the OTP’s appeal. Further, the Appeals Chamber held that though the Pre-Trial Chamber may request OTP’s reconsideration of its decision, the Pre-Trial Chamber may not compel the OTP’s reconsideration.

As of November 2016, the OTP reported that the OTP had conducted a de novo review and is preparing to issue its final decision in the near future.

For more information on the preliminary examination in Comoros, please visit the ICC page.

The Situation in Côte d’Ivoire involves violence resulting from the country’s contested presidential elections of 2010, following a decade of tension over the leadership of Côte d’Ivoire. After former President Laurent Gbagbo was elected in 2000, a revolt occurred in 2002, which resulted in civil unrest. The government held the majority Christian south, and rebels controlled the majority Muslim north. After Gbagbo refused to hold elections in 2004, the government allegedly ordered airstrikes against different rebel groups.

The government continued to refuse to hold elections until 2010. In November 2010, former Prime Minister and Rally of the Republicans candidate Alassane Ouattara was elected President, but former President Gbabgo disputed the election results and refused to cede power. In November 2010, pro-Gbagbo forces allegedly attacked civilians perceived to be associated with the Ouattara opposition in Abidjan and western Côte d’Ivoire. The attacks allegedly often targeted civilians on the basis of ethnic, religious, national or political affiliations. The situation escalated to an armed conflict between pro-Gbagbo forces and pro-Ouattara forces that lasted until April 2011, with both sides allegedly committing murder, rape, attacks against civilians and attacks to cultural and religious institutions.

Côte d’Ivoire ratified the Rome Statute on February 15, 2013. Prior to ratification, Côte d’Ivoire accepted International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction in April 2003 and again in both December 2010 and May 2011. The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) initiated a proprio motu investigation on June 23, 2011, which was later authorized by the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber III on October 3, 2011. The OTP initially requested authorization to investigate crimes since November 28, 2010, but the investigation was later expanded to cover evidence of crimes since September 19, 2002. Within the Côte d’Ivoire situation, there are the following cases: The Prosecutor v. Simone Gbagbo and The Prosecutor v. Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé.

For more information on the Situation in Côte d’Ivoire, please visit the ICC page.

The conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) involves a protracted conflict between the government of the DRC and many armed groups. The DRC has experienced conflict since the First Congo War in 1996, with violence erupting again in 1998 when armed rebel groups began to engage with forces of the government of the DRC (the Second Congo War). During this period, up to 25 armed groups and eight African states supported various actors in the conflict. The government finalized a peace agreement with rebel groups in 2003, with later peace agreements in Ituri in 2007 and Kivu in 2009. However, various groups continued to engage in armed conflict in the eastern parts of the country throughout the past decade.

The conflict has been characterized by patterns of extreme brutality and attacks against civilians, including rape, torture, forced displacement, the use of child soldiers, and mass murder. Millions of civilians have died over the course of the conflict.

The DRC ratified the Rome Statute on April 11, 2002. The DRC referred itself to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on April 19, 2004. Following a preliminary examination, the Office of the Prosecutor officially opened an investigation on June 23, 2004. Within the Situation in the DRC, there are the following cases: The Prosecutor v. Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga, The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, The Prosecutor v. Callixte Mbarushimana, The Prosecutor v. Sylvestre Mudacumura and The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda.

For more information on the Situation in the DRC, please visit the ICC page.

Gabon

Preliminary Examinations, Subject Matter Jurisdiction Assessement

Background  

The Preliminary Examination of the Situation in Gabon focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during a political crisis which involved Gabonese government forces and protest groups (opposition political parties and citizens). The political crisis occurred from May 2016 to the present.

In 1960, Gabon gained independence from France, and Leon Mba became the first president. In 1967, Albert Bernard Bongo (after converting to Islam, he changed his name to Omar Bongo) was elected president. In 1993, in Gabon’s first multi-party democratic elections, President Bongo was elected. Despite criticism from opposition parties, President Bongo was re-elected in 1998 and in 2005. In 2009, after President Bongo’s death, his son Ali Ben Bongo was elected president, and Gabonese government forces and protesters clashed over the election results.

In August 2016, President Ali Ben Bongo was re-elected president over opposition candidate, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean Ping. Opposition parties claimed that the election process was fraudulent. On August 27, 2016, the presidential election was held. The election results were scheduled to be announced on August 30 but were announced on August 31. According to the National Electoral Commission, there was a national electoral turnout of 59.5%, and President Bongo won 49.8% of the vote and Jean Ping won 48.2% of the vote. President Bongo’s home province Haut-Ogooué was the last province to be counted, and his home province reported a provincial electoral turnout of 99.93% with President Bongo winning 95.46% of the vote. Again, Gabonese government forces and protesters clashed over the election results. Protesters set fire to Gabonese National Parliament building. Gabonese government forces bombed the opposition’s headquarters. On September 23, 2016, despite the EU’s questioning of the results, the Constitutional Court upheld the results.   

ICC Status  

Gabon is a State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome Statute on September 20, 2000. On September 29, 2016, after receiving a referral (dated September 20, 2016) from the government of Gabon of alleged atrocity crimes committed on its territory, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary examination.  

As of November 2016, the preliminary examination of Gabon is in the subject-matter jurisdiction assessment phase.

For more information on the preliminary examination in Gabon, please visit the ICC page.

Georgia

Situations & Cases

Background

The Situation in Georgia focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during an international armed conflict, also known as the 2008 Georgian-South Ossetia conflict or the 2008 Russo-Georgian war, which involved Georgian government forces, South Ossetian separatist forces, and Russian government forces. The armed conflict occurred from July 1 to October 10, 2008. 

Under the Soviet Union, South Ossetia was transferred as an autonomous region to Georgia. In the 1980s, South Ossetian separatists began to agitate for independence. From 1991 to 1992, Georgian government forces and South Ossetian separatists, supported by Russian government forces, fought for control over the territory. In 1992, Georgia and South Ossetia signed the Sochi agreement which established a ceasefire.

By 2008, long-simmering tensions amongst Georgia, South Ossetia, and Russia boiled over. On August 5, 2008, Russia declared that if there was conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia, Russia would defend the rights of Russians in South Ossetia. On August 7, 2008, despite a peace attempt, Georgia launched an attack on South Ossetia’s capital Tshkinvali to regain control over the territory. On August 8, 2008, Russian tanks entered South Ossetia. On August 12, 2008, Russian government forces entered Georgia. South Ossetian separatist forces, along with Russian forces, attacked ethnic Georgian civilians, pillaged towns, and forcibly displaced civilians from South Ossetia. South Ossetian separatist forces attacked Georgian peacekeepers, and Georgian government forces attacked Russian peacekeepers. On August 13, 2008, Georgia and Russia agreed to a ceasefire agreement. On August 18, 2008, after creating a buffer zone between Georgia and South Ossetia, Russia pulled back its forces from Georgia to the buffer zone. On October 8, 2008, after months of continued hostilities, Russian withdrew its forces from the buffer zone back to South Ossetia.    

ICC Status

Georgia is a State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome statute on September 5, 2003. On August 14, 2008, after receiving communications of alleged atrocity crimes committed in Georgia, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) announced a preliminary examination. On March 17, 2015, the government of Georgia informed the OTP that Georgia had indefinitely suspended national proceedings. In a November 2015 report, the OTP determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe that South Ossetian separatist forces committed war crimes. In the same report, the OTP determined that South Ossetian separatist forces and Georgian government forces committed crimes against humanity. On October 13, 2015, the OTP requested authorization to conduct a formal investigation. On January 27, 2016, Pre-Trial Chamber I granted authorization to the OTP to conduct a formal investigation. Within the Situation in Georgia, there are no cases.

For more information on the Situation in Georgia, please visit the ICC page.

Greece

Preliminary Examinations, Closed - Decision Not to Proceed

Background

The Preliminary Examination of the Situation in the registered vessels of Comoros, Greece, and Cambodia focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during a violent interception of the ships which involved Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and civilian passengers on the ships. The violent interception of the ships occurred on May 31, 2010.

In 1948, with the official end of Great Britain’s colonial mandate and the declaration of Israel’s independence as a state, the League of Arab States declared it would protect the rights of Palestinians and attacked Israel. Israel defense forces repelled the Arab forces. In 1967, in the Six-Day War, Israel again defeated Arab forces and gained control of the Sinai Peninsula (later returned to Egypt), the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. Israel’s control of these territories has led to a decades-long conflict with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In 2005, Israel withdrew its military forces and settlers from Gaza but maintained control over the territory through a border barrier as well as a naval blockade. The Free Gaza Movement periodically sent flotillas to break the blockade and deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza.

On May 28, 2010, a flotilla of ships embarked upon the journey to Gaza from Turkey. The flotilla carried over 700 passengers, mainly pro-Palestinian activists and humanitarian aid workers, from 36 countries. On May 31, 2010, the IDF boarded the ships to enforce Israel’s blockade, and the IDF fired upon civilian passengers which resulted in the deaths of ten civilians (nine Turkish citizens and one dual Turkish-American citizen) and injuries to humanitarian aid workers. On June 1, 2010, the UN Security Council called for an investigation into the IDF attack on the flotilla.

ICC status

Greece is a State Party of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome Statute on May 15, 2002. On May 14, 2013, after receiving a referral (dated May 14, 2013) from the government of Comoros of alleged atrocity crimes committed on its territory, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary examination. On November 6, 2014, the OTP closed the preliminary examination on the basis that the admissibility requirement had not been met (the cases would not be of sufficient gravity). On July 16, 2015, at Comoros’ request for review of the OTP’s decision, Pre-Trial Chamber I held that the OTP had made errors in its assessment that the admissibility requirement had not been met and requested that the OTP reconsider its decision. On November 6, 2015, at the OTP’s appeal of the Pre-Trial Chamber’s decision, the Appeals Chamber held that the OTP’s appeal was not admissible without considering the merits and dismissed the OTP’s appeal. Further, the Appeals Chamber held that though the Pre-Trial Chamber may request OTP’s reconsideration of its decision, the Pre-Trial Chamber may not compel the OTP’s reconsideration.

As of November 2016, the OTP reported that the OTP had conducted a de novo review and is preparing to issue its final decision in the near future.

For more information on the preliminary examination in Greece, please visit the ICC page.

Guinea

Preliminary Examinations, Admissibility Assessment

Background

The Preliminary Examination of the Situation in Guinea focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during a political crisis which involved Guinean government forces (Conseil National pour la Démocratie et le Développement (CNDD)) under President Moussa Dadis Camara and protest groups (opposition political parties and citizens). The political crisis occurred from December 2008 to January 2010, but this preliminary examination focuses on the “September 28 Massacre” which occurred on September 28, 2009. 

In 1958, Guinea gained independence from France, and Ahmed Sekou Toure became the first president. In 1984, after President Toure’s death, Lansana Conte seized power in a military coup and proclaimed himself president. In 1993, in Guinea’s first multiparty democratic elections, President Conte was elected. Despite criticism from opposition parties, President Conte was re-elected in 1998 and in 2003. In late December 2008, after President Conte’s death, junior military officers seized power in a military coup, and Captain Moussa Dadis Camara was declared president. 

On September 28, 2009, Guinea’s independence day, 50,000 protesters gathered in a national stadium to express discontent with President Camara’s plans to run for president and the military junta’s rule over the country. Guinea government forces began shooting into the crowds; an estimated 157 were killed. Protesters were stabbed and beaten. Women were targeted for rape and sexual violence. Guinea government forces quickly removed bodies from the stadium, making it difficult to ascertain the true number of those killed. After an assassination attempt, President Camara left the country for medical treatment. On June 27, 2010, Guinea held the first round of presidential elections and, on November 7, 2010, held the second round of presidential elections. Alpha Conde was elected president.  

ICC Status

Guinea is a State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome Statute on July 14, 2003. On October 14, 2009, after receiving communications of alleged atrocity crimes committed in Guinea, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) announced a preliminary examination. In a December 2011 report, the OTP determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe that Guinea government forces committed crimes against humanity.

As of November 2016, the preliminary examination of Guinea is in the admissibility assessment phase

For more information on the preliminary examination in Guinea, please visit the ICC page.

Honduras

Preliminary Examinations, Closed - Decision Not to Proceed

The Preliminary Examination in Honduras focuses on alleged atrocity crimes (crimes against humanity) committed during a conflict which involved Honduran government forces under interim President Roberto Micheletti (June 2009-January 2010) and elected President Porfirio Lobo Sosa (January 2010-January 2014) and political opposition groups and which occurred from June 2009 to 2014.

Honduras elected José Manuel Zelaya Rosales to the presidency in 2005. The relationship between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government deteriorated during his presidency, culminating in a coup d’état in 2009. On June 28, 2009, President Zelaya was stripped of power and forcibly removed from the country. The newly named President, Roberto Micheletti, implemented curfews and issued executive decrees restricting civil liberties. Since the 2009 coup, violence has increased in Honduras, particularly due to police violence against civilians and the rise of drug trafficking. Within this region, 100 members of campesino (peasant or farmers) movements, members of their families and other individuals associated with their movements were killed from January 2010 to September 2013.

Honduras ratified the Rome Statute on July 1, 2002. On November 18, 2010, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary examination into allegations of crimes committed between June 2009 and January 2010. In November 2013, the OTP concluded that, after considering the information available, there was no reasonable basis to open a formal investigation. Later, after receiving new allegations of crimes committed after January 2010, the OTP continued its preliminary examination. On October 28, 2015, the OTP closed the preliminary examination on grounds that the Rome Statute’s requirements for opening a formal investigation had not been met.

For more information on the preliminary examination in Honduras, please visit the ICC page.

Iraq

Preliminary Examinations, Subject Matter Jurisdiction Assessement

Background

The Preliminary Examination of the Situation in Iraq focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during an armed conflict which involved international forces (Multinational Force-Iraq (MNF-I), U.S. forces, UK forces), Iraqi government forces, and anti-government groups such as Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Islamic Army in Iraq.  The preliminary examination focuses on the UK forces engagement in the armed conflict during the period of March 2003 to July 2009.

In conjunction with its War on Terror and its war against Afghanistan, the U.S. considered a war against Iraq and claimed that the Saddam Hussein-headed government of Iraq had close ties to Al Qaeda, possessed weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological), and sought nuclear weapons. On March 20, 2003, a U.S. and UK-led coalition of forces invaded Iraq. In April 2003, the Saddam Hussein-headed government was ousted. In May 2003, the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority assisted in the formation of the Iraqi Governing Council. In June 2004, the Iraqi Governing Council transferred governmental authority to the Iraqi Interim Government.  On December 31, 2008, the Multi-NFI officially withdrew from Iraq.  On July 28, 2009, UK forces officially withdrew from Iraq.

In the course of the conflict, civilians were killed and injured by international forces, Iraqi government forces, and various armed anti-government groups.

ICC Status

Iraq is not a State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and has not submitted a declaration under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute accepting ICC exercise of jurisdiction over Iraq.  However, the ICC may exercise jurisdiction over acts of nationals of a State Party committed in the territory of a non-State Party under Article 12(2)(b) of the Rome Statute. In February 2006, after receiving communications of alleged atrocity crimes committed in Iraq and conducting a preliminary examination, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) closed the preliminary examination. On May 13, 2014, after receiving new communications of alleged atrocity crimes committed in Iraq by nationals of the UK, the OTP reopened the preliminary examination. After opening a preliminary examination, to make a determination to open a formal investigation, the OTP assesses the following factors: jurisdiction (temporal, territorial or personal, and subject matter); admissibility (complementarity and gravity); and the interests of justice.

As of November 2016, the preliminary examination of Iraq is in the subject-matter jurisdiction assessment phase. The OTP reported that the OTP “is currently in the process of concluding its comprehensive factual and legal assessment of information available in order to establish whether there is a reasonable basis to believe that alleged crimes committed by United Kingdom nationals . . . fall within the subject-matter jurisdiction of the Court.”

For more information on the preliminary examination in Iraq/UK, please visit the ICC page.

The Situation in Kenya involves mass violence and accompanying atrocities that occurred after the country’s contested 2007-2008 election. The violence spread across six of the eight Kenyan provinces: Nairobi, North Rift Valley, Central Rift Valley, South Rift Valley, Nyanza Province and Western Province. Following the announcement of the re-election of President Mwai Kibaki, supporters of the opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, rejected the declared election results and accused the government and the President of electoral fraud. A series of protests and demonstrations devolved into post-election violence, mainly perpetrated between two tribes: that of Kibaki, the Kikuyu, and that of Odinga, the Luo. The violence resulted in over 1,100 deaths, over 3,500 injuries, 900 acts of documented rape and sexual violence, and up to 500,000 forcibly displaced persons.

Kenya ratified the Rome Statute on March 15, 2005. The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) initiated a proprio motu investigation on November 26, 2009, which was later authorized by the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber II on March 31, 2010. Within the Situation in Kenya, there are the following cases: Prosecutor v. Paul Gicheru and Philip Kipkoech Bett, The Prosecutor v. William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang, The Prosecutor v. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and The Prosecutor v. Walter Osapiri Barasa.

For more information on the Situation in Kenya, please visit the ICC page.

The Situation in Libya involves mass violence that occurred throughout Libya’s six month popular uprising in 2011. Colonel Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi, who ruled Libya since 1969, instituted a legal and political regime, which allowed him to rule with absolute power. Initial protests in Libya began on February 15, 2011, when thousands of demonstrators gathered in front of the police headquarters in Benghazi to protest the arrest of two Libyan lawyers and human rights activists. Libyan security forces allegedly openly fired into the crowd, killing many civilians. In the following weeks, Libyan security forces allegedly carried out a systematic attack against the civilian population, killing, injuring, arresting, and disappearing hundreds of civilians perceived as dissidents, including citizens of Egypt and Tunisia. The attacks followed the same pattern in multiple locations, but were especially prominent in Benghazi and Misrata. There is evidence that 500-700 people were killed in the initial February 2011 shootings, and that thousands died over the course of the conflict. The United Nations (UN) estimates that hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the conflict in Libya.

Libya is not a State Party to the Rome Statute. On February 26, 2011, the United Nations Security Council unanimously referred the situation in Libya on February 26, 2011 to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigation through Resolution 1970. Following a preliminary examination, the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC officially opened an investigation on March 3, 2011. Within the Situation in Libya, there is one case: The Prosecutor v. Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi.

For more information on the Situation in Libya, please visit the ICC page.

Background

The Situation in Mali focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during an armed conflict between Malian government forces, the Mouvement national de libération de l’ Azawad (MNLA), and Muslim armed groups such as the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Ansar Dine. The armed conflict occurred from January 17, 2012 to the present.

On January 28, 2012, the MNLA, along with the AQIM, launched an attack on a town in northern Mali, and the two armed groups fought against Malian government forces over control of northern Mali. The MNLA is a Tuareg armed group that sought to create an independent state called Azawad in northern Mali. The AQIM is a Muslim armed group that sought to impose Sharia law over Mali. On March 22, 2012, President Toure was deposed in a military coup by Malian soldiers who were angered by the Malian government’s inability to defeat the MNLA, and the Malian soldiers looted the capital. President Toure resigned, and Dioncounda Traore was declared interim president.

On April 6, 2012, taking advantage of the political crisis, the MNLA declared the independence of Azawad state. On May 27, 2012, the MNLA and the Ansar Dine agreed to create an Islamic state. The Ansar Dine is a Muslim armed group with ties to Al-Qaeda that sought to impose Sharia law over Mali. However, the alliance between Ansar Dine and the MNLA fell apart. By June 2012, Ansar Dine and other Muslim armed groups had pushed the MNLA out of northern Mali and controlled Kidal, Timbuktu, and Gao. From May to July 2012, the Ansar Dine and other Muslim armed groups destroyed historical holy sites, mausoleums, and mosques (UNESCO World Heritage sites) in Timbuktu. With French-led international military assistance, Mali regained control of northern Mali. However, despite peace attempts in June 2013, February 2015, and June 2015, the conflict is still ongoing.  

ICC status    

Mali is a State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome Statute on August 16, 2000. On July 18, 2012, after receiving a referral (dated July 13, 2012) from the government of Mali of alleged atrocity crimes committed on its territory, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary examination. On January 16, 2013, the OTP opened a formal investigation. Within the Situation in Mali, there is the following case: The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi.

For more information on the Situation in Mali, please visit the ICC page

Nigeria

Preliminary Examinations, Admissibility Assessment

Background

The Preliminary Examination of the Situation in Nigeria focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during an armed conflict which involves Nigerian government forces (Security Forces, Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF)) and Boko Haram. The armed conflict occurred from 2009 to present, but this preliminary examination focuses on the time period of January 2013 to December 2015. 

In July 2009, Boko Haram attacked police stations and government buildings in northern Nigeria, and Nigerian government forces counterattacked the Boko Haram compound in Maiduguri, killing an estimated 100 Boko Haram members and its founder. Boko Haram is a Muslim armed group formed to impose Shariah law over northern Nigeria. After the July 2009 clash, Boko Haram radicalized under a new leader and promulgated its vision of Islam through suicide bomb attacks, killings, kidnappings, sexual slavery, forced marriages, and sexual violence. Boko Haram carried out Christmas day bomb attacks against churches in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015. In February 2014, Boko Haram burned or shot to death at least 29 teenage boys at a Buni Yadi state college. In April 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped over 200 girls from a Chibok school.

In December 2015, claiming a security threat, Nigerian government forces attacked the Islamic Movement in Nigeria compound in Zaria, killing an estimated 830 Shiites. After international calls for investigation of the Zaria massacre, Nigeria created a judicial commission. Nigeria’s judicial commission reported that Nigerian government forces had used excessive force and killed 348 Shiites.

ICC Status

Nigeria is a State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome Statute on September 27, 2001. On November 18, 2010, after receiving communications of alleged atrocity crimes committed in Nigeria, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) announced a preliminary examination. In an August 2013 report, the OTP determined that there is a reasonable basis to believe that Boko Haram committed crimes against humanity. In a November 2015 report, the OTP identified eight potential cases involving crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by Boko Haram (six cases) and Nigerian government forces (two cases).

As of November 2016, the preliminary examination of Nigeria is in the admissibility assessment phase.

For more information on the preliminary examination in Nigeria, please visit the ICC page.

Palestine

Preliminary Examinations, Subject Matter Jurisdiction Assessement

Background

The Preliminary Examination of the Situation in Palestine focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during an armed conflict, also known as the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict or Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, which involved Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Palestinian armed groups (Hamas’ Internal Security Forces and Al-Qassam Brigades). The armed conflict occurred between July 7 and August 26, 2014. 

In 1948, with the official end of Great Britain’s colonial mandate and the declaration of Israel’s independence as a state, the League of Arab States declared it would protect the rights of Palestinians and attacked Israel. Israel defense forces repelled the Arab forces. In 1967, in the Six-Day War, Israel again defeated Arab forces and gained control of the Sinai Peninsula (later returned to Egypt), the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. Israel’s control of these territories has led to a decades-long conflict with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In 2005, Israel withdrew its military forces and settlers from Gaza but maintained control over the territory through a border barrier as well as a naval blockade.

In July 2014, due to a murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank by Palestinian extremists and a retaliatory murder of a Palestinian teenager in East Jerusalem by Israeli extremists, tensions were heightened between Hamas-governed Gaza and Israel. Israel launched an air strike campaign and a ground invasion against Hamas military targets in Gaza. Palestinian armed groups and the IDF allegedly launched attacks near residential areas, hospitals, and schools; the IDF attacked six UNRWA schools in Gaza. On August 26, 2014, the Israeli government and the Palestinian government signed a peace agreement which established a ceasefire. In the course of the conflict, the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict reported that over 2,100 Palestinians, including 1,462 civilians, were killed and over 65 Israelis, including 6 civilians, were killed.

ICC Status

Palestine is a State Party of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and ratified the Rome Statute on January 2, 2015. On January 22, 2009, the Palestinian Authority submitted a declaration (dated January 21, 2009) recognizing ICC jurisdiction over alleged atrocity crimes committed on its territory. After receiving the declaration, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary examination. In November 2012 report, the OTP decided that, as of April 3, 2012, due to Palestine’s UN “observer entity” status, the declaration could not be accepted and closed the preliminary examination. In November 2013 report, the OTP decided that, as of November 29, 2012, due to Palestine’s UN “non-member observer state” status, a new declaration could be accepted. On January 1, 2015, the government of Palestine submitted a new declaration (dated December 31, 2014) recognizing ICC jurisdiction over alleged atrocity crimes committed on its territory since June 13, 2014. On January 16, 2015, after receiving the new declaration, the OTP opened a preliminary examination.

As of November 2016, the preliminary examination of Palestine is in the subject-matter jurisdiction assessment phase. The OTP reported that the OTP will continue its assessment “in order to establish whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation.”  

For more information on the preliminary examination in Palestine, please visit the ICC page.

South Korea

Preliminary Examinations, Closed - Decision Not to Proceed

At the end of World War II, the Korean Peninsula was divided into two separate States, North and South Korea. Since 1945, the two States have been in and out of open armed conflict with minor skirmishes in between. North Korea is believed to have been responsible for death and injury of South Korean civilians and marines from artillery shelling on Yeonpyeong Island on November 23, 2010 and the sinking of a South Korea warship, the Cheonan, on March 26, 2010.

South Korea ratified the Rome Statute on November 13, 2002. The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced the opening of a preliminary examination on December 6, 2010. The OTP concluded that the sinking of a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, on March 26, 2010, was an attack on a lawful military target. The OTP further concluded the deaths on Yeonpyeong Island were not the result of attacks intentionally directed against civilians. Based on those conclusions, the OTP decided to close the preliminary examination in South Korea on June 23, 2014.

For more information on the preliminary examination in South Korea, please visit the ICC page.

The Situation in Sudan involves a conflict between the government of Sudan and several armed rebel groups who are fighting for access to and control over resources and land, as well as increased rights for their perceived disadvantaged tribes or social groups. In the Darfur region, the conflict also has an ethnic dimension. From 2003-2005 in Darfur, pro-government Arab militias (including the Janjaweed, also known as the “Moujahadeen”) were accused of conducting an ethnic cleansing campaign against non-Arabs. In combating rebel forces in Darfur, these pro-government militias allegedly attacked civilian populations, looted civilian property, and caused forced displacement.

Attacks on aid workers and peacekeepers have also occurred throughout the conflict. Several different parties have been accused of committing human rights violations and attacks on the civilian population, causing the displacement of tens of thousands of refugees.

Sudan is not a State Party to the Rome Statute. The United Nations (UN) Secretary General Kofi Annan established the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur in October 2004, and published a report on April 7, 2005 finding reason to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity had been committed in Darfur under article 8 and 7 respectively of the Rome Statute. On March 31, 2005, the UN Security Council referred the situation in Darfur/Sudan to the ICC for investigation through Resolution 1593. Following a preliminary examination, the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC officially opened an investigation in Darfur on June 6, 2005. Within the Situation in Sudan, there are the following cases: The Prosecutor v. Bahr Idriss Abu Garda, The Prosecutor v. Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir, The Prosecutor v. Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain, The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Muhammad Harun “Ahmad Harun” and Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman “Ali Kushayb” and The Prosecutor v. Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein.

For more information on the Situation in Sudan, please visit the ICC page.

The Situation in Uganda involves a protracted conflict between the government of Uganda and armed rebel groups, primarily the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA has waged an ongoing insurgency against the Ugandan government; the Ugandan Army, the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF); and local defense units since 1987. The conflict has caused tens of thousands of deaths and abductions, and has displaced up to two million civilians throughout the region, causing many to live in internal displacement persons camps with threats of both LRA and UDPF abuses.

The LRA has consistently targeted and directed attacks against civilians. As part of these attacks, the LRA have used many tactics to brutalize the civilian population, including mass murder, mutilation, and forceful abduction of children to be child soldiers, servants, and sex slaves. Although the Lord’s Resistance Army has been inactive in northern Uganda since 2006, it still operates in the border region between the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan. The UDPF has also been accused of attacks against civilians. Alleged rebel collaborators have been subjected to torture as part of interrogations and have been killed if found outside camps. In the camps, women and girls are victims of sexual abuse and civilians have been killed from beatings. To date, however, the alleged crimes committed by the LRA have been the focus of the conflict.

Uganda ratified the Rome Statute on June 14, 2002. Uganda referred itself to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on December 16, 2003. Following a preliminary examination, the Office of the Prosecutor officially opened an investigation on July 28, 2004. Within the Situation in Uganda, there are the following cases: The Prosecutor v. Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti and The Prosecutor v. Dominic Ongwen.

For more information on the Situation in Uganda, please visit the ICC page.

Ukraine

Preliminary Examinations, Subject Matter Jurisdiction Assessement

Background

The Preliminary Examination of the Situation in Ukraine focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during the following related situations. The 2014 Ukrainian political crisis, also known as the Maidan protests, involved Ukrainian government forces and pro-European anti-government protesters. The political crisis occurred from November 21, 2013 to February 22, 2014. The 2014 Ukraine separatist armed conflicts with Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk involved Ukrainian government forces, Russian government forces, and pro-Russian anti-government armed groups. The armed conflicts with Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk occurred from February 20, 2014 to the present. 

In November 2013, under economic pressure from Russia, President Yanukovych announced that Ukraine would not sign an EU association agreement. On December 1, 2013, 350,000 pro-European protesters gathered in Kiev Independence Square (Maidan) and occupied Kiev City Hall. In February 2014, Ukrainian government forces shot at protesters which led to an estimated 75 to 100 killed. On February 21, 2014, President Yanukovych and opposition leaders agreed to a peace deal. On February 22, 2014, the Parliament removed President Yanukovych from office; President Yanukovych fled the country.

The removal of President Yanukovych inflamed separatist movements in eastern Ukraine—Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk. On February 27-28, 2014, pro-Russian armed groups and Russian government forces occupied Crimean government buildings and seized Sevastopol military airport and Simferopol civilian international airport. On March 6, 2014, the Crimean parliament voted to secede from Ukraine and to join Russia. On March 16, 2014, in a referendum, Crimean voters supported secession from Ukraine and union with Russia. On March 18, 2014, Russia annexed Crimea. On April 6, 2014, pro-Russian armed groups occupied government buildings in Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kharkiv. On May 11, 2014, in respective referendums, Donetsk and Luhansk voters supported secession from Ukraine. From May through July 2014, after the election of President Poroshenko, Ukraine and pro-Russian armed groups fought over Donetsk civilian international airport and fought over Luhansk civilian international airport. On July 17, 2014, pro-Russian armed groups shot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Donetsk and killed all 298 civilian passengers. Despite peace attempts in September 2014 and February 2015, the conflict is still ongoing.

ICC Status

Ukraine is not a State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC).  On April 17, 2014, the government of Ukraine submitted a declaration (dated April 9, 2014) accepting ICC jurisdiction over alleged atrocity crimes committed on its territory from November 21, 2013 to February 22, 2014. After receiving the declaration, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary examination. On September 8, 2015, the government of Ukraine submitted a second declaration (dated September 8, 2015) accepting ICC jurisdiction over alleged atrocity crimes committed on its territory since February 20, 2014. After receiving the second declaration, the OTP extended the temporal scope of the preliminary examination.

As of November 2016, the preliminary examination of Ukraine is in the subject-matter jurisdiction assessment phase. The OTP reported that the OTP will continue its analysis “with a view to identifying potential cases within the jurisdiction of the Court.”

For more information on the preliminary examination in Ukraine, please visit the ICC page.

United Kingdom

Preliminary Examinations, Subject Matter Jurisdiction Assessement

Background  

The Preliminary Examination of the Situation in Iraq focuses on alleged atrocity crimes committed during an armed conflict which involved international forces (Multinational Force-Iraq (MNF-I), U.S. forces, UK forces), Iraqi government forces, and Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Islamic Army in Iraq, and other armed anti-government groups. The armed conflict occurred from March 2003 to July 2009.

In conjunction with its War on Terror and its war against Afghanistan, the U.S. considered a war against Iraq and claimed that the Saddam Hussein-headed government of Iraq had close ties to Al Qaeda, possessed weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological), and sought nuclear weapons. In March 2003, a U.S. and UK-led coalition of forces invaded Iraq. In April 2003, the Saddam Hussein-headed government was ousted. In May 2003, the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority assisted in the formation of the Iraqi Governing Council. In June 2004, the Iraqi Governing Council transferred governmental authority to the Iraqi Interim Government. In the course of the conflict, from 2003 to 2009, civilians were killed and injured by international forces, Iraqi government forces, and various armed anti-government groups. 

ICC Status  

Iraq is not a State Party to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and has not submitted a declaration under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute accepting ICC exercise of jurisdiction over Iraq. However, the ICC may exercise jurisdiction over a State Party’s nationals who commit atrocity crimes on the territory of a non-State Party under Article 12(2)(b) of the Rome Statute. On February 2006, after receiving communications of alleged atrocity crimes committed in Iraq and conducting a preliminary examination, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) closed the preliminary examination. On May 13, 2014, after receiving new communications of alleged atrocity crimes committed by UK nationals on the territory of Iraq, the OTP reopened the preliminary examination.

As of November 2016, the preliminary examination of Iraq is in the subject-matter jurisdiction assessment phase. The OTP reported that the OTP “is currently in the process of concluding its comprehensive factual and legal assessment of information available in order to establish whether there is a reasonable basis to believe that alleged crimes committed by United Kingdom nationals . . . fall within the subject-matter jurisdiction of the Court.”    

For more information on the preliminary examination in Iraq/UK, please visit the ICC page.

Venezuela

Preliminary Examinations, Closed - Decision Not to Proceed

The Preliminary Examination in Venezuela focuses on alleged atrocity crimes (crimes against humanity) committed during a conflict which involved Venezuelan government forces and political opposition groups and which occurred in April 2002.

President Hugo Chavez was elected to the presidency in July 2000. His presidency saw increased polarization among citizens as his power grew, resulting in his vast control of the Venezuelan government. On April 11, 2002, between 400,000 and 600,000 people participated in a march in Caracas outside the Miraflores Palace, the presidential palace, to demand the resignation of President Chavez. The march devolved into violence between Chavez opposition and government forces, resulting in more than 13 dead and more than 100 injured. President Chavez was taken into custody, and opposition business leader, Pedro Carmona proclaimed himself president. Just 48 hours later, on April 14, Chavez was returned to power.

Venezuela ratified the Rome Statute on June 7, 2000. The ICC has jurisdiction over Rome Statute crimes committed since July 1, 2002. On an unspecified date, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) opened a preliminary examination into allegations of atrocity crimes. On February 9, 2006, the OTP closed the preliminary examination on the grounds that the Rome Statute’s requirements for opening a formal investigation had not been met. The OTP noted that, as the ICC has jurisdiction over crimes committed since July 1, 2002 and most of the allegations were of crimes committed in April 2002, the ICC had no temporal jurisdiction over those alleged crimes. With regard to the remaining allegations of crimes committed after July 2002, the OTP concluded that, after considering the information available, there was no reasonable basis to open a formal investigation.  

For more information on the preliminary examination in Venezuela, please visit the ICC page.