The International Criminal Court (ICC) investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
On its website, the ICC identifies the defendants who are currently at large and provides insight into the crimes they have been charged with.
The International Criminal Court’s “most wanted”
The ICC currently lists 15 defendants, each of whom has a warrant issued for their arrest. A number of defendants are also subject to Interpol Red Notices.
|Name||Nationality||Function (at time of warrant)||Charges||Warrant of arrest||Interpol Red Notice|
|Al Bashir, Omar Hassan Ahmad||Sudanese||President of the Republic of Sudan||5 counts of crimes against humanity, 2 counts of war crimes, 3 counts of genocide||Y||N|
|Al-Werfalli, Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf||Libyan||Commander in the Al-Saiqa Brigade||Commission of murder as a war crime in 8 separate incidents||Y||Y|
|Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, Ali Muhammad (“Ali Kushayb”)||Sudanese||Alleged leader of the Militia/Janjaweed||22 counts of crimes against humanity and 28 counts of war crimes||Y||Y|
|Banda Abakaer Nourain, Abdallah||Sudanese||Commander-in-Chief of Justice and Equality Mouvement Collective-Leadership||3 counts of war crimes||Y||Y|
|Barasa, Walter Osapiri||Kenyan||Unspecified||3 counts of offences against the administration of justice||Y||N|
|Bett, Philip Kipkoech||Kenyan||Unspecified||Offences against the administration of justice||Y||N|
|Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam||Libyan||Acting as the Libyan de facto Prime Minister||2 counts of crimes against humanity||Y||Y|
|Gbagbo, Simone||Ivorian||Unspecified||4 counts of crimes against humanity||Y||N|
|Gicheru, Paul||Kenyan||Lawyer based in Kenya||Offences against the administration of justice||Y||Y|
|Harun, Ahmad Muhammad (“Ahmad Harun”)||Sudanese||Minister of State for the Interior of the Government of Sudan||20 counts of crimes against humanity and 22 counts of war crimes||Y||N|
|Hussein, Abdel Raheem Muhammad||Sudanese||Minister of National Defence||7 counts of crimes against humanity and 6 counts of war crimes||Y||N|
|Khaled, Al-Tuhamy Mohamed||Libyan||Alleged former Lieutenant General of the Libyan army and former head of the Libyan Internal Security Agency (ISA)||4 counts of crimes against humanity||Y||Y|
|Kony, Joseph||Ugandan||Alleged Commander-in-Chief of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)||12 counts of crimes against humanity and 21 counts of war crimes||Y||N|
|Mudacumura, Sylvestre||Rwandan||Alleged Supreme Commander of the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda||9 counts of war crimes||Y||N|
|Otti, Vincent||Ugandan||Alleged Vice-Chairman and Second-in-Command of the LRA||11 counts of crimes against humanity and 21 counts of war crimes||Y||N|
Many of the ICC defendants at large are wanted for committing war crimes.
The ICC is governed by an international treaty called the Rome Statute, which gives the Court jurisdiction over a wide range of war crimes.
Specific war crimes committed by the current defendants include: attacking a civilian population, pillaging, rape, murder, mutilation, torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, destruction of property, forced enlistment of children, and intentionally directing attacks against personnel, material or vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission.
Broadly speaking, genocide is a term used to refer to targeted actions aimed at the destruction of particular groups of people.
Genocide was first recognised as a crime under international law in 1946 by the United Nations General Assembly and was codified as an independent crime in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention).
Of the 15 defendants at large, only Al Bashir, Omar Hassan Ahmad is wanted for committing genocide. Interestingly, he is not subject to an Interpol Red Notice.
Crimes against humanity
Many of the ICC defendants at large are wanted for committing crimes against humanity.
Unlike genocide and war crimes, crimes against humanity have not yet been codified in a dedicated treaty of international law. Despite this, the prohibition of crimes against humanity is considered a peremptory norm of international law applicable to all States.
Specific crimes against humanity committed by these perpetrators include: murder, extermination, torture, rape, deportation or forcible transfer of population, imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law, persecution, inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering, enslavement, sexual enslavement, rape and other sexual violence.
The page linked to above provides some insight into how crimes against humanity are distinguished from genocide and war crimes.
Offences against the administration of justice
A number of defendants are charged with offences against the administration of justice, including Barasa, Walter Osapiri, Bett, Philip Kipkoech and Gicheru, Paul.
These individuals are specifically charged with offences against the administration of justice consisting in corruptly influencing witnesses regarding cases from the situation in Kenya.
These cases may be interlinked. An illustrative example is that Bett, Philip Kipkoech is alleged to have interfered in the case involving charges against Paul Gicheru, and vice versa.