, THE HAGUE, Sep 8 – The International Criminal Court, where Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto goes on trial Tuesday, has opened probes in eight countries, all of them African, prompting accusations of racism that the court firmly denies.
Three Kenyans, including Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta, face trial for their alleged roles in the post-election violence that gripped the country in 2007-2008, which prosecutors say killed at least 1,100 people.
Prosecutors in March dropped charges against Kenyatta’s co-accused, top civil servant Francis Muthaura, after a key witness withdrew testimony. It was the first time ICC prosecutors decided to drop a case.
Former president Laurent Gbagbo, who was transferred to the ICC prison in The Hague in November 2011, faces four counts of crimes against humanity over months of deadly fighting after he refused to accept defeat in a November 2010 presidential election.
The court has also unsealed an arrest warrant for Gbagbo’s wife Simone, in custody in the Ivory Coast.
Arrested in 2011 in Libya, Muammar Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam is wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the repression of the popular uprising which led to the fall of his father’s regime. Libya and the ICC are at odds over who should put him and his fellow suspect, Gaddafi’s former spy chief Abdullah Senussi, on trial.
Four Sudanese – including President Omar al-Bashir, who is accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide – are on the ICC’s wanted list as part of a probe into the conflict in the western region of Darfur.
Darfur rebel leader Abdallah Banda is to go on trial in May next year for the 2007 killings of 12 African Union peacekeepers in Darfur. His co-accused, Saleh Jerbo, was killed in fighting in April.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s former vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba, whose rebel army is accused of atrocities in the Central African Republic, has been detained by the ICC since 2008, charged with three war crimes counts and two of crimes against humanity for murder, rape and pillaging.
The ICC issued arrest warrants for Joseph Kony and other commanders of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in 2005 for crimes against humanity and war crimes, including the use of child soldiers and sex slavery.
ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced in January she has opened a war crimes probe into fighting in Mali between northern Islamist insurgents and the Malian army, backed by French forces.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
The ICC sentenced Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga in 2012 to 14 years in prison for using children in his rebel army in 2002-2003, the court’s first verdict since starting work in 2003.
Congolese militia boss Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui was acquitted of war crimes in December when judges ruled prosecutors failed to prove he played a commanding role in the murder of 200 villagers in 2003.
A verdict for his co-accused Germain Katanga is pending.
Congolese militia leader Bosco Ntaganda in April turned himself in at the US embassy in Rwanda asking to be sent to The Hague to face seven war crimes and three crimes against humanity charges.
Rwandan warlord Sylvestre Mudacumura, military commander of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), is wanted by the court on accusations of murder, rape and using child soldiers.