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THE RECKONING

Whoever kills an innocent, he is killing the entirety of mankind.

At the heart of the concept of killing innocent people, many lives are at
stake and many children are terrified of what might be their future in this
chaotic world of ours. The movie clip, - The Reckoning, gave me a bird's-
eye view of what is really happening to our world. I myself, do not know the
fact that many countries, even before have experienced these kinds of
brutality. I have never exposed myself to such things but one thing Ive
learned is that justice can also be served to those underprivileged and
unfortunate innocent people. For me, the creation of the International
Criminal Court paved way to giving those people the hope of attaining justice
that they deserve.

The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) vs Uganda

The Lords Resistance Army (LRA) has been active since 1986, the
Africas oldest, most violent, and persistent armed group, fighting against the
Government of Uganda. The Government of Uganda referred the situation to
the Court and thereafter, the Senior Prosecutor of the ICC, conducted an
investigation after thorough analysis of available information in order to
ensure that requirements of the Rome Statute are satisfied.

The ICC investigations in Uganda have focused on alleged war crimes


and crimes against humanity committed in the context of an armed conflict
predominantly between the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) and the national
authorities, mainly in Northern Uganda, since 1 July 20021.

1 Uganda. Situation in Uganda. ICC-02/04. https://www.icc-cpi.int/uganda


In June 2002, Uganda ratified the Rome Statute, and in January 2004, it
referred the situation in its territory since 1 July 2002 to the ICC. The ICC
therefore may exercise its jurisdiction over crimes listed in the Rome Statute
committed on the territory of Uganda or by its nationals from 1 July 2002
onwards.2

As a result of the investigation, arrest warrants were issued to the leaders of


the LRAs. As of 2005, one of them was not convicted and two of them are
now believed to be dead and the others remain at large. The most recent
status, just last year on the 6 th of February, one of the alleged criminals,
Dominic Ongwen was surrendered to the ICCs custody and a Pre-Trial
Chamber II severed the proceedings against Ongwen from the case of the
The Prosecutor v. Kony et al. As the other suspects in the case have not
appeared or have not been apprehended yet, the Chamber deemed it
necessary to separate the case so as not to delay the pre-trial proceedings
against Mr Ongwen. After having consulted the Prosecutor, the Chamber
decided not to proceed against the other three suspects in absentia.3

The Court and Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is a former colony of Belgium and shortly


after their independence, a war emerged. In 2003, the ICC received
communications from individual and non-governmental organization
regarding the present situation of Congo. In 2004, seven arrest warrants
have been issued for war crimes and crimes against humanity. 4 These
criminals conscripted children under the age of 15 and used them to

2 Uganda. Situation in Uganda. ICC-02/04. https://www.icc-cpi.int/uganda

3 Situation in Uganda. The Prosecutor v. Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti. ICC-02/04-01/05.
Updated September 2015

4 Democratic Republic of Congo. http://www.iccnow.org/?mod=drc


participate actively in hostilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo,
murdered civilians, committed sexual slavery, rape, cruelty and inhuman
treatment. They made intentional attacks to the civilians and further
destructed their properties. As of 2014, 3 of them were found guilty of the
said crimes, one was found not guilty and the rest are still on trial.

In April 2002, the DRC ratified the Rome Statute, and in April 2004, referred
the situation in its territory since 1 July 2002 to the ICC. The ICC therefore
may exercise its jurisdiction over crimes listed in the Rome Statute
committed on the territory of the DRC or by its nationals from 1 July 2002
onwards.

In 2015, the ICC was forced to drop charges against Kenyas president
Uhuru Kenyatta, who had been accused of stoking ethnic violence after
Kenyas 2007 presidential election. Just this June 21, 2016, Jean-Pierre
Bemba, the former vice-president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo,
has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for rape and pillage committed by
his troops, becoming the highest-level official to be sentenced at the
international criminal court.5

The Court and Colombia

The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) declared it was examining alleged crimes
within the jurisdiction of the Court and investigations/proceedings conducted
in Colombia against the allegedly most serious perpetrators, paramilitary
leaders, politicians, guerrilla leaders and military personnel. 6 This started on
February 2005 when the United Nations said that three parties to the armed
conflict in Colombia were using child soldiers or committing war crimes

5 https://www.theguardian.com/law/2016/jun/21/jean-pierre-bemba-sentenced-to-
18-years-in-prison-by-international-criminal-court

6 Justice in Conflict. https://justiceinconflict.org/2012/07/29/colombia-and-the-


international-criminal-court-new-prosecutor-new-standards/
against children, the ICC then conducted an investigation. The preliminary
examination focusses on alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes
committed in the context of the armed conflict between and among
government forces, paramilitary armed groups and rebel armed groups,
including the crimes against humanity of murder; forcible transfer of
population; imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty;
torture; and rape and other forms of sexual violence; and the war crimes of
murder; intentional attacks against civilians; torture; other cruel treatment;
outrages on personal dignity; taking of hostages; rape and other forms of
sexual violence; and using children to participate actively in hostilities. The
preliminary examination also focusses on the existence and genuineness of
national proceedings in relation to these crimes. 7The jurisdiction of the court
was when Colombia deposited its instrument of accession to the Rome
Statute on 5 August 2002 together with a declaration pursuant to article 124
excluding war crimes from the jurisdiction of the ICC for a seven-year period.
The ICC may therefore exercise its jurisdiction over war crimes committed in
the territory or by the nationals of Colombia since 1 November 2009 and
over other crimes listed in the Rome Statute committed since 1 November
2002.8 As of 2013, there were only five convictions and one acquittal for acts
of sexual violence and 95 cases are still on the preliminary stage of
investigation, 16 are on the investigation phase, 4 were terminated at the
investigation stage and 26 were inactive.

The Court and Darfur

Darfur (Sudan), although not a State Party to the Rome Statute. However,
since the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) referred the situation in
Darfur to the ICC in Resolution 1593 (2005) on 31 March 2005, the ICC may

7 Preliminary examination, Colombia. https://www.icc-cpi.int/colombia

8 Preliminary examination, Colombia. https://www.icc-cpi.int/colombia


exercise its jurisdiction over crimes listed in the Rome Statute committed on
the territory of Darfur, Sudan, or by its nationals from 1 July 2002 onwards. 9
The investigation started when the Sudanese government began a
murderous campaign against the African Tribes in the Darfur Region, which
has left thousands of people dead, and at least 1.5 million people displaced
10
from their homes. The investigation done by the ICC focused mainly on
the allegations on genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity
committed in Darfur since 2002. The referral by the UNSC of the situation in
Sudan to the ICC was made because the situation constitutes a threat to the
international peace and security. An arrest warrant has been issued by the
ICC against Bashir and three allies but the court failed to enforce it because
the court has no police and the court is so reliant with the UNCS to take
coercive measures that could compel the said accused to stand to trial. As of
today, the court suspended the investigation because it has been stagnant
for five years.

Provisions concerning our rights are there, embodied in each and every laws
of every countries. But the question is, when those rights are impaired, are
the remedies already available to every individual in the society
notwithstanding their status in life? The answer would be the creation of the
International Criminal Court in which every individual, when their own
country refuses to enforce appropriately their rights, they can refer their
concerns to the said court provided that they are signatories to it. Although
not every concern that they raise can be addressed, the important thing is
that, there is an independent instrumentality that is very much willing to
fight for the enforcement of our rights.

9 Darfur, Sudan, https://www.icc-cpi.int/darfur

10 International Criminal Court Investigations Sudan. Global Policy Forum