International Criminal Court
A Kenyan lawyer accused of bribing witnesses in a failed International Criminal Court case is to face trial in The Hague.
The court’s pre-trial chamber said there were sufficient grounds to bring a case against Paul Gicheru, who handed himself over last November.
He is accused of systematically bribing and intimidating prosecution witnesses in the case that collapsed in 2016 against Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto.
The politician had denied murder, deportation and persecution charges during violence that followed the 2007 elections in which about 1,200 people were killed.
The charges against Mr Gicheru relate to eight witnesses.
The lawyer and those working with him are alleged to have identified, contacted and either offered them payment and/or intimidated them to recant their evidence.
Mr Gicheru denies the allegations.
Another case to do with violence following Kenya’s disputed poll in 2007 against current President Uhuru Kenyatta also collapsed.
He has been living in the Belgian capital Brussels since his release from detention three years ago.
The International Criminal Court was set up in 2002 to try individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity but has also faced criticisms for the cases it has taken on.
BBC Focus on Africa radio
Criticism that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is only interested in going after Africans was part of a “propaganda” campaign by those who wanted to discredit the court, its outgoing prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has told the BBC.
The Gambian lawyer is stepping down from the job on Wednesday after nine years at The Hague-based court.
She has been the second person to hold the position.
All 30 of the ICC’s cases so far have involved Africans but Ms Bensouda said that her office was now investigating situations in several other areas of the world.
These include Georgia, Afghanistan, the Palestinian territories, Colombia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Venezuela and the Philippines.
“The ICC’s work is not to target any particular continent. It will follow the evidence,” she told Focus on Africa, in an interview marking her departure.
Reflecting on her achievements she said that the cases she had prosecuted had set a precedent in international law when it came to dealing with sexual violence.
There were also some failures, including the acquittals of ex-Democratic Republic of Congo Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba and Laurent Gbagbo, the former president of Ivory Coast. There was also the collapse of the cases relating to the violence after Kenya’s 2007 election.
“This is a court of justice and in any court we have acquittals and convictions,” Ms Bensouda said.
“Of course, as a prosecuting office we get the best evidence and present it before the judges… this is however work where we have confronted many challenges. But no matter what, we have done what we were supposed to do as prosecutors in all cases, including those in which we were not able to get convictions.”
British lawyer Karim Khan will take over from Ms Bensouda on Wednesday.
A United Nations unit is gathering video footage of state-sponsored violence in Myanmar to use as evidence in future trials.
BBC News, Kampala
Dominic Ongwen, the Ugandan rebel commander who has just been sentenced to 25 years in jail, was the first former child solider to be convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) - and his case has raised debate over whether he should be treated as a victim or a perpetrator.
He was abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) on his way to primary school in the late 1980s.
It was also the first case in which the issue of sexual and gender-based crimes took centre stage at the ICC.
In February, Ongwen was found guilty of sexual slavery, forced marriage and rape of seven women who were abducted and placed into his household - in addition to murder, attempted and torture.
His conviction meant that victims could start the process of seeking reparations.
At the height of his time with the LRA, Ongwen was the commander of the Sinia brigade, and of the fiercest fighters in the rebel movement.
He turned himself in to US forces in the Central African Republic (CAR) in 2015 - and they later handed him over to the Ugandan army.
Arrest warrants for the LRA leader Joseph Kony and other top commanders of the movement remain outstanding.
The LRA terrorised Uganda’s north and eastern regions for nearly two decades beginning in the late 1980s, before fleeing to then Southern Sudan.
Despite the untold suffering meted out on communities in these regions, the Acholi - Ongwen’s ethnic group - feel strongly that he should have been given the opportunity to go through "Mat Oput", their form of traditional justice, which involves reconciliation and community reintegration.
Since the war ended in northern Uganda, hundreds of former LRA abductees and fighters have benefited from the government amnesty programme and have returned to their homes. Some have gone through Mat Oput.
Mr Kony and the LRA remain at large, and have continued to kill, abduct and loot in CAR, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ugandan justice advocate Sarah Kihika Kasande has said Thursday's sentencing of Dominic Ongwen sends a message that perpetrators of crime will be held accountable.
Ms Kasande also told NBS television that more needed to be done for the victims of the war crimes in northern Uganda.
"The rest of the criminals should be held accountable domestically or internationally because Ongwen didn't commit these crimes alone," she said.
The International Criminal Court's Trial Chamber IX Presiding Judge Bertram Schmitt has explained how the court arrived at 25 years imprisonment for rebel commander Dominic Ongwen.
He said the decision was not unanimous.
Judge Raul Cano Pangalangan had proposed a 30-year jail term, saying Mr Ongwen's background should not overshadow the victims' suffering.
The presiding judge later said the 25 years was arrived at by the majority of the judges.
BBC World ServiceCopyright: Reuters
A Ugandan former child soldier who became a commander of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army has been sentenced to 25 years in jail by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Dominic Ongwen, known as White Ant, was convicted in February of more than 60 crimes including murder, torture, rape and sexual enslavement.
Prosecutors argued that Mr Ongwen receive a lower prison term because he had been abducted by the LRA as a child.
The rebel movement was formed more than 30 years ago, operating in Uganda and neighbouring countries.
It mutilated people by cutting off parts of their faces.
BBC World Service
The International Criminal Court has upheld the war crimes conviction against the Congolese rebel leader, Bosco Ntaganda.
The former commander - who was named the Terminator because of his brutality - had appealed against his 30-year jail sentence given to him in 2019.
He was found guilty on 18 counts including murder, rape and using child soldiers and was the first person to be convicted by the court for sexual slavery.
The charges related to crimes carried out in the mineral- rich Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002 and 2003.