Global Policy Forum

Congo Asks for War Crimes Probe

April 19, 2004

The International Criminal Court, or ICC, could start investigating atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo this year after a request from the country's president, the court said Monday. President Joseph Kabila wrote to the ICC's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, asking for an investigation into possible war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, the ICC said in a statement. An investigation could lead to formal charges.

Since last year Moreno Ocampo's office has received six complaints of atrocities in Congo's northeastern province of Ituri from individuals and groups. These included two detailed reports from non-governmental organizations of execution, rape, torture, sexual slavery and use of child soldiers, the ICC said. A U.N. mission is trying to end fighting and attacks on civilians by ethnic Hema and Lendu armed groups who are responsible for some 50,000 deaths in Ituri since 1999. The global court, which took effect last July to tackle the world's gravest crimes, has no formal cases on its books, but Uganda has also asked it to investigate charges of atrocities.

Moreno Ocampo, an Argentine who helped prosecute his country's military junta for crimes committed during its "dirty war," has said he expects a probe into possible atrocities in the Congo to start this year. He has devoted significant attention to claims of crimes committed in Ituri province.

Moreno Ocampo has vowed to prosecute not only the perpetrators of such crimes, but also foreign businessmen and firms who supplied cash or weapons in exchange for so called "blood diamonds" to people they knew were guilty of atrocities. Moreno Ocampo has said crimes linked to Congo's civil war, which killed around three million people, may have been committed as far away as the United States and Canada.

More Information on International Justice
More Information on the International Criminal Court
More Information on the Democratic Republic of Congo
More Information on Diamonds in Conflict


FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.