At large: With Libyan suspect's unveiling, now 13 to watch

By unsealing 2013 warrant from its Libya investigation, ICC aims to spur international arrest operation – we now bring you 12 additional ICC suspects still-at-large.

On 24 April 2017, the International Criminal Court (ICC) unsealed a 2013 arrest warrant for Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled, allegedly responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Libya between February and August 2011.

The ICC prosecutor stated her hope that reclassifying the 2013 arrest warrant as public would not only inform the international community of its existence, but also mobilize cooperation around Khaled’s arrest and surrender to The Hague-based Court. Here we introduce the latest ICC suspect – and offer a reminder of 12 other subjects of ICC arrest warrants still at large.


Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled (Libya)

The United Nations Security Council referred a situation of alleged crimes against humanity in non-ICC member state Libya following the outbreak of popular demonstrations against the Muammar Gaddafi regime in February 2011. The prosecutor’s charges against Khaled, a former senior officer in the regime’s security forces, include the first ICC war crimes charges (torture, cruel treatment and outrages upon personal dignity) relating to the non-international armed conflict between government forces and rebels in 2011. The arrest warrant also alleges imprisonment, torture, persecution and other inhumane acts against perceived opponents of the regime as crimes against humanity.


Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi (Libya)

The ICC prosecutor alleges that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi – as de facto prime minister under the regime of his father, and Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi – devised and implemented a state-level policy to quell, including through lethal force, civilian demonstrations in 2011. Pre-trial judges issued arrest warrants against both Gaddafis, as well as former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi in June 2011, with the case against Muammar Gaddafi terminated after his death and the case against al-Senussi deemed inadmissible in 2013. Judges referred the case against the younger Gaddafi to the UNSC in December 2014 over a failure by Libyan authorities to transfer the suspect from Libya, where he was at the time being detained by the Zintan militia. In 2015, a Tripoli court sentenced Gaddafi and seven other former government officials to death. However, accounts of domestic fair trial failures as well as Gaddafi’s reported release have prompted the ICC prosecutor and civil society groups to remobilize around his surrender to the ICC.


Omar al-Bashir (Darfur)

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide committed in Darfur, Sudan beginning in 2003. Al-Bashir became the first ever sitting head of state sought by an international court after the ICC issued arrest warrants against him in 2009 and 2010. The Sudanese president’s international travel has been greatly curtailed by the threat of domestic legal actions, including some initiated by national civil society groups, but instances of non-cooperation by ICC member states continue to loom large. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which referred the Darfur situation to the ICC, has consistently failed to ensure or facilitate al-Bashir’s arrest. The ICC already concluded that several African states failed to comply with their obligations to arrest and surrender al-Bashir in recent years, and it will this year decide whether South Africa will join the list. More recently, al-Bashir attended the Arab League Summit in Jordan, another ICC member state.


Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein (Darfur)

Abdel Hussein, former Sudanese Interior Minister and President Omar al-Bashir’s special representative in Darfur, is wanted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He is alleged to have contributed to a joint government-Janjaweed militia counter-insurgency plan against rebel groups in Darfur from 2003 to 2004. ICC judges issued an arrest warrant for Hussein in March 2012.


Ali Kushayb (Darfur)

Ali Kushayb, alleged leader of the Sudanese government-aligned Janjaweed militia, is wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur, Sudan.  Kushayb is charged as the commander of the Janjaweed militia, which allegedly implemented the Sudanese government´s counter-insurgency strategy in Darfur from 2003-2004. ICC judges issued the arrest warrant for Kushyab on 27 April 2007. On 25 May 2010, pre-trial judges informed the UNSC about Sudan’s lack of cooperation in advancing an arrest, but an appropriate response has been found wanting.


Ahmad Harun (Darfur)

The current governor of Sudan’s North Kordofan region, Ahmad Harun is wanted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur, Sudan. Harun was the Minister of Interior in charge of the Sudanese military forces from 2003 to 2005. Government forces, with assistance from the Janjaweed militia, allegedly attacked the towns of Kodom, Bindisi and Arawale in Darfur between 2003 and 2004, murdering, raping, persecuting and imprisoning civilians. Harun’s arrest warrant was issued along with Kushayb’s on 27 April 2007, and has been met with the same lack of cooperation by Sudan and of appropriate response by the UNSC.


Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain (Darfur)

Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain, commander of the Justice and Equality Movement rebel group in Sudan, is allegedly responsible for war crimes committed during a 2007 attack against African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) peacekeepers. Twelve peacekeepers and another eight AMIS personnel were killed as a result of the attack. After Banda’s initial voluntary appearance at the ICC in June 2010 in response to a summons to appear, judges confirmed the charges and committed him to trial. In September 2014, the Court issued an arrest warrant against Banda when it became likely that he would not reappear for trial, with the ICC Appeals Chamber upholding the warrant of arrest.


Simone Gbagbo (Côte d’Ivoire)

Côte d’Ivoire has consistently refused to surrender former First Lady Simone Gbagbo to the ICC to face prosecution for alleged crimes against humanity committed in the aftermath of the country’s disputed 2010 presidential elections. Gbagbo, whose ICC arrest warrant dates back to 2012, was convicted in a domestic court in 2015 of undermining state security and sentenced to 20 years in prison.  ICC appeals judges, however, found that the domestic proceedings did not cover the same crimes as those contained in the ICC case and that Côte d’Ivoire remains obliged to surrender her to the ICC.  In March 2017, Gbagbo was acquitted by a domestic court of crimes against humanity due to fair trial concerns and a serious lack of evidence. Until ICC judges decide otherwise, Simone Gbagbo remains at large.


Walter Osapiri Barasa (Kenya)

Walter Osapiri Barasa is a former Kenyan journalist and served as an intermediary between the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) and local witnesses during the OTP’s investigation into a situation of post-electoral violence in Kenya from 2007 to 2008. According to his August 2013 arrest warrant, Barasa is suspected of offering bribes to prosecution witnesses to induce them to withdraw their testimony before the ICC – constituting alleged offenses against the administration of justice under the Rome Statute.


Paul Gicheru (Kenya)

Paul Gicheru, a Kenyan lawyer, is suspected of witness-tampering – or offenses against the administration of justice under the Rome Statute – consisting of corruptly influencing prosecution witnesses in the Kenya situation cases. The ICC prosecutor has provided evidence including a number of witness statements and transcripts of interviews, official documents and correspondence demonstrating that from April 2013, there was a criminal scheme designed to systematically approach and corruptly influence witnesses: allegedly through bribery and other methods to induce their withdrawal as prosecution witnesses. A March 2015 ICC arrest warrant against Gicheru suggests that he coordinated the alleged scheme.


Philip Kipkoech Bett (Kenya)

Like Gicheru, Kipkoech Bett is a Kenyan lawyer suspected of offenses against the administration of justice, also for allegedly corruptly influencing witnesses in the Kenya situation cases. According to his March 2015 ICC arrest warrant, Bett allegedly contributed to a witness-tampering scheme.


Sylvestre Mudacumura (DRC)

Sylvestre Mudacumura, the alleged Supreme Commander of the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda, has been charged with nine counts of war crimes – allegedly committed between 2009 and 2010, in the context of the conflict in the Kivus, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The war crimes charges consist of attacking civilians, murder, mutilation, cruel treatment, rape, torture, destruction of property, pillaging and outrages against personal dignity. Mudacumura, who allegedly directed the commission of the crimes, became the subject of an ICC arrest warrant in July 2012.


Joseph Kony (Uganda)

Joseph Kony, commander-in-chief of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), has been the subject of an ICC arrest warrant since July 2005. He is charged with 12 counts of crimes against humanity and 21 counts of war crimes for his alleged role with the LRA during the group’s insurgency and guerilla campaigns in northern Uganda and neighbouring countries. The search for Kony surged in 2012 with the release of the documentary entitled Kony 2012 which also pushed for non-ICC member state the United States to assist with Kony’s capture. However, some fear the international campaign around Kony’s capture may be winding down as the US re-evaluates its military and financial presence in Central Africa. Still, the LRA remains designated as a terrorist organization by the US.