Conflict-driven famine

The Rome Statute can bolster protection around food sources and property during conflict.

With 250,000 civilians in the city of Mosul and over 20 million people in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen reportedly under threat of famine in 2017, the use of hunger as a weapon of war has become a very global challenge.

In conflict areas like civil war-ridden South Sudan, famine is a common current result of military tactics. The ICC can, however, bring to justice those who use these very tactics.

The Court convicted former Congolese militia leader Germain Katanga of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during an attack on the Bogoro village in eastern DRC, which not only killed many, but also destroyed survivors’ crops and livestock. The reparations award stemming from the conviction aims to help the Bogoro victims recover these among other losses for a more meaningful restorative justice.

As the trend of conflict-driven famine increases, the international community must strengthen legal protection around food sources and property during conflict. To do so, the ICC must be able to act when called upon to pursue those using famine as a weapon of war.