Ft. Lauderdale, March 15, 2012 – Joseph Kony of the Lord’s Resistance Army has fought to overthrow Uganda’s government and replace it with a Christian theocracy for more than 20 years. Kony, who claims he is a messiah sent by God to cleanse Uganda, is a brutal leader who orders murders, rapes and mutilations of those he opposes. He also abducts children, who he uses as sex slaves and soldiers. In 2005, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Kony and several of his top aides for enslaving more than 24,000 children and murdering 10,000 others.
Although Kony and his small marauding band of sycophantic supporters have terrorized central African’s for more than two decades, the international public has largely ignored him, partially thanks to lack of press, until the Kony 2012 video hit You Tube earlier this month and gained the attention of millions, including celebrities Angelina Jolie and George Clooney.
Now, both Kony and the ICC are getting the attention they deserve.
The International Criminal Court at The Hague is an independent international organization. In general, the court prosecutes cases involving genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It only has jurisdiction if the accused party is a citizen of a signatory country, if the crime took place in a signatory country or is referred by the United Nations Security Council, and only when individual courts in a country are unable or unwilling to investigate the alleged crime. Currently 120 countries are part of the ICC. The United States previously was part of the ICC but “unsigned” the treaty and no longer officially recognizes the jurisdiction of the ICC.
The ICC has indicted 28 people since it was founded in 2002.
Following are the ICC’s Most Wanted:
- Ahmed Haroun:
The ICC indicted Haroun on 20 counts of crimes against humanity and 22 counts of war crimes for allegedly recruiting and arming the vicious and notorious janjaweed militias in the Darfur region of Sudan while he was the Minister of State for the Interior.
The militias raped, tortured and killed civilians and pillaged property.
Haroun denies committing any atrocities and is now Governor of South Kordofan in Sudan.
- Ali Kushayb: Like Haroun, Kushayb was a leader of the janjaweed. The ICC warrant for Kushayb cites 22 counts of crimes against humanity and 28 counts of war crimes.
His warrant states he personally raped and murdered numerous civilians in Darfur and attacked civilians. He also allegedly is responsible for imprisonment, sexual violence and inhumane treatment of civilians.
Kushayb’s whereabouts are currently unknown.
- Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein: The ICC accuses Hussein, Sudan’s Minister of Defense, of 13 crimes against humanity and six counts of war crimes.
The ICC indictment says he planned the government response in Darfur, including murder, rape, torture and other inhumane acts. Hussein has ignored the warrant.
- Bosco Ntaganda:
Ntaganda is a former rebel leader who is now a General in the army of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The ICC indicted him on three counts of war crimes. As a rebel leader, he reportedly ordered his troops to forcibly enlist children younger than 15 into rebel forces and made them fight government forces.
The ICC also accuses him of overseeing the massacre of more than 1,000 civilians.
- Abdullah Senussi: The ICC indicted Senussi on two counts of crimes against humanity. Senussi is the brother-in-law and security chief of the former Libyan dictator Muhamar Qadaffi and reportedly helped Qadaffi use excessive force to stop protests against the Libyan government.
The ICC says he oversaw the murder of hundred of civilians and directed troops to commit “inhuman acts that severely deprived the civilian population of its fundamental rights.”
Senussi’s whereabouts are currently unknown.
- Okot Odhiambo: Odhiambo, a senior leader in Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, reportedly committed murder, enslaved civilians, led attacks against civilians, and forcibly conscripted children into the LRA.
The ICC charged him with three counts of crimes against humanity and seven counts of war crimes.
He reportedly issued standing orders to attack and brutalize civilian populations, and his ICC warrant says other LRA leaders call him “the one who killed the most.”
- Dominic Ongwe:
Ongwen is another leader of the LRA, and the ICC accuses him of three counts of crimes against humanity and four counts of war crimes.
His alleged crimes include ordering attacks on civilian populations, murder, enslavement, cruel and inhumane acts, and inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering.
The LRA reportedly abducted him when he was a child, and he now reportedly commits the same heinous acts on others that were committed against him.
While the ICC offers hope for prosecution against the world’s most grievous criminals, its reach is limited. Powerful countries, and weak countries with strong allies, and those who opt out of the ICC are beyond reach of the organization.
Until the global justice system is truly global, the ICC will remain a valuable, but limited tool. To succeed, the ICC must have authority to mete out justice to the most heinous criminals in the world, regardless of where they reside.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.