Based on the Statute, the Office adopted a policy of focusing its efforts on the most serious crimes and individuals who bear the greatest responsibility for those crimes. Determining which individuals bear the greatest criminal responsibility is done according to, and dependent on, the evidence that emerges in the course of an investigation. Furthermore, the Court is complementary to national efforts.

Warrants of arrest

A warrant of arrest is an order issued by a Pre-Trial Chamber for a person to be arrested, upon application by the Prosecutor. After reviewing the application for an arrest warrant and the evidence or other information submitted by the Prosecutor, the Pre-Trial Chamber issues an arrest warrant if it is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person has committed a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court and that his/her arrest appears necessary to ensure the person’s appearance at trial, to ensure that the person does not endanger the investigation or the court proceedings (e.g. by tampering with evidence or threatening witnesses) or to prevent further commission of crimes.

Alternatively, the Prosecutor may request a Pre-Trial Chamber to issue a summons for a person to appear before the Chamber. A summons to appear will be issued if the Chamber is satisfied that a summons is sufficient to ensure the appearance of the person against whom it has determined that there are reasonable grounds to believe that he/she has committed a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court.


For crimes committed in Uganda, ICC judges issued warrants of arrest for the top leaders of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) on July 8 2005: Joseph Kony, the Chairman and Commander of the LRA, Vincent Otti, the Vice Chairman and 2nd in Command of the LRA (presumed deceased), Okot Odhiambo, LRA Army Commander; Raska Lukwiya LRA Deputy Army Commander (killed on 12 August 2006); and Dominic Ongwen, LRA Brigade Commander (surrendered to ICC custody on 17 January. On 26 January 2015, Dominic Ongwen appeared before the Single Judge of Pre-Trial Chamber II. The Single Judge provisionally set the date of the beginning of the confirmation of charges hearing in respect of Dominic Ongwen for 24 August 2015.), have all been named in numerous counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes. Alleged crimes are: enslavement, sexual slavery, rape, murder, intentionally directing an attack against the civilian population, enlisting children and pillaging. The remaining warrants are outstanding.

Democratic Republic of Congo

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, five arrest warrants have been issued: for Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, the leader of the Union des Patriotes Congolais, a militia rebel group in the DRC, for war crimes; for Germain Katanga, the former senior commander of the Force de Résistance Patriotique en Ituri (“FRPI”); for Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, the former senior commander of the Front Nationalistes et Intégrationistes (FNI); for Bosco Ntaganda, former Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Forces Patriotiques pour la Libération du Congo (FPLC), and current alleged Chief of Staff of the Congrès national pour la défense du people (CNDP), an armed group active in North Kivu in the DRC; for Callixte Mbarushimana, alleged Executive Secretary of the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda - Forces Combattantes Abacunguzi (FDLR-FCA, FDLR) and for and Sylvestre Mudacumura for war crimes in the context of the conflict in the Kivus.  Sylvestre Mudacumura remains at large.

The trial against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo started on 26 January 2009. The trial conluded on 26 August 2011 and on 14 March 2012, Trial Chamber I decided unanimously that Thomas Lubanga Dyilo is guilty of the war crimes of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 and using them to participate actively in hostilities. On 14 July, 2012, Trial Chamber I sentenced Thomas Lubanga Dyilo to a total of 14 years of imprisonment. 

The trial against Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui began on 24 November 2009. On 21 November 2012, the Judges of Trial Chamber II decided to sever the charges against Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui and Germain Katanga. On 18 December 2012 Mr Ngudjolo Chui was acquitted of the charges against him. The Prosecution is appealing the decision. The verdict in the case against Germain Katanga will be delivered at a later stage. 

Bosco Ntaganda, a former associate of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, is wanted by the Court. On 22 August 2006, a first arrest warrant was issued against Bosco Ntaganda, for three counts of war crimes allegedly committed in Ituri (DRC): enlistment of children under the age of 15; conscription of children under the age of 15; and using children under the age of 15 to participate actively in hostilities. On 13 July 2012, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a new warrant of arrest for Bosco Ntaganda , following the request submitted on 14 May 2012 by the ICC Prosecutor, for three counts of crimes against humanity -  murder, rape and sexual slavery, and persecution. In accordance with the warrant of arrest, Bosco Ntaganda allegedly bears individual criminal responsibility for three counts of crimes against humanity – murder, rape and sexual slavery, and persecution; and four counts of war crimes consisting of murder, attacks against the civilian population, rape and sexual slavery, and pillaging. 

On 16 December 2011, Pre-Trial Chamber I decided by Majority to decline to confirm the charges against Callixte Mbarushimana and to release him from the custody of the Court. This decision did not preclude the Prosecutor from subsequently requesting the confirmation of the charges if such request is supported by additional evidence.

Central African Republic

In the Central African Republic (CAR), an arrest warrant for Mr. Jean-Pierre Bemba, the former vice president of the DRC, was issued on 23 May 2008 for crimes against humanity and war crimes in CAR. Mr. Bemba was arrested in Brussels, Belgium on 24 May 2008. Mr. Bemba, the first person to be arrested in the context of the ICC investigation in CAR, was later transferred to The Hague on 3 July 2008. The trial began on 22 November 2010.

On 20 November 2013, a warrant of arrest for Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidèle Babala Wandu, and Narcisse Arido was issued by the ICC for offences against the administration of justice allegedly committed in connection with the case of The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo.
On 27 November 2013, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Fidèle Babala Wandu, and Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo made their initial appearance before the ICC and Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo on 5 December 2013. Narcisse Arido was transferred to the ICC detention centre on 18 March 2014 and he made his first appearance before the ICC on 20 March 2014. The decision on the confirmation of the charges will be made in writing in due course.

Darfur, Republic of the Sudan

For the first investigation in the Darfur region of Sudan for crimes committed in 2003/2004, the Prosecution requested summonses to appear or, in the alternative warrants of arrest should the suspects and/or Government of Sudan indicate their intent not to cooperate with any issued summonses. Two arrest warrants were issued, on 2 May 2007: for Ahmad Muhammad Harun, Sudanese government Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, and for Ali Kushayb, Militia/Janaweed leader, for numerous counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes. These warrants are outstanding.

Following a second investigation for crimes committed in the whole of Darfur since 2004, the Office of the Prosecutor presented evidence to ICC Judges showing that Sudanese President, Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir, committed crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. On 4 March 2009 Pre-Trial Chamber I issued a first warrant of arrest against Omar Al Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity and a second arrest warrant on 12 July 2010 for three counts of genocide committed against the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups.

On 12 December 2011, the Prosecutor requested Pre-Trial Chamber I to issue an arrest warrant against the current Sudanese Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Darfur from August 2003 to March 2004. The arrest warrant was issued on 1 March 2012.

Three summonses to appear have also been issued for the rebels, Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus. The three summonses were issued for the attack against the African Union base at Haskanita in September 2007. All three appeared voluntarily and confirmation of charges hearings were conducted, resulting in non-confirmation of the case against Bahar Idriss Abu Garda pending further presentation of evidence by the Prosecution, and transmission of the case against Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus to trial.

Republic of Kenya

Regarding the situation in Kenya, the trial in the case The Prosecutor v. William Samoei Ruto, and Joshua Arap Sang commenced on 10 September(charges were not confirmed against Henry Kiprono Kosgey, but the OTP will present additional evidence). The case The Prosecutor v. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta also sent to trial on January 23 2012. That trial is set to commence on 5 February 2014. (charges were not confirmed against Mohammed Hussein Ali, but the OTP will present additional evidence) and the Prosecution dropped the charges against Francis Muthaura on 11 March 2013. All six individuals appeared before Pre-Trial Chamber II in April 2011 pursuant to summonses to appear. In addition, the arrest warrant in the case of The case The Prosecutor v. Walter Osapiri Barasa for allegedly corruptly influencing Prosecution witnesses was unsealed on 2 October 2013 and remains outstanding. 


Three arrest warrants have been issued in the situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, pursuant to UNSCR 1970 (2011): for Libyan Head of State and commander of the Armed Forces Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gadaffi, Libyan de facto Prime Minister Saif Al-Islam Gadaffi and Libyan Head of Military Intelligence Abdullah Al-Senussi. On 22 November 2011, Pre-Trial Chamber I decided to terminate the case against Muammar Gaddafi following his death. Saif Al-Islam Gadaffi was captured in Libya on 19 November 2011. Libyan authorities have indicated their intention to conduct national prosecutions against the suspect, for which they must submit a challenge to the admissibility of the case before Pre-Trial Chamber I, pursuant to articles 17 and 19 of the Rome Statute of the ICC.

Republic of Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire was previously subject of a Preliminary examination by the Office which led to the opening of an investigation

After having been granted authorization to open an investigation in Côte d’Ivoire by Pre Trial-Chamber III, the Office of the Prosecutor requested the Judges to issue an arrest warrant against Laurent Koudou Gbagbo, former President of Côte d’Ivoire, who allegedly bears individual criminal responsibility, as an indirect co-perpetrator, for four counts of crimes against humanity, namely murder, rape and other sexual violence, persecution and other inhuman acts, allegedly committed in the context of post-electoral violence in the territory of Côte d’Ivoire between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011.

Mr. Gbagbo was transferred to The Hague on 30 November 2011, and made his first appearance before ICC judges on December 5. Judges set the date of his Confirmation of Charges hearing for June 18, 2012.

On 22 November 2012, ICC judges decided to unseal their Arrest Warrant against Mrs. Simone Gbagbo for her alleged individual responsibility for crimes against humanity during Côte d’Ivoire’s post-election crisis in 2010 – 2011. The Prosecutor called on Ivorian authorities to surrender Mrs Gbagbo to the Court.


On 18 July 2012, the Malian Government referred “the situation in Mali since January 2012” to the ICC. Following an independent preliminary examination of all available information related to alleged crimes committed since January 2012 in Mali, the Office establishe​d that the criteria to open an investigation had been met. On 16 January 2013, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda formally opened an investigation into alleged crimes committed on the territory of Mali since January 2012.

Surrender of Individuals sought by the Court

The Court does not have a mandate to execute arrests. Thus it relies on the help of states and other actors to implement warrants of arrest to enable the Court to fulfil its mandate. The surrender of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, Germain Katanga, Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, Jean-Pierre Bemba, Callixte Mbarushimana and Laurent Gbagbo are important illustrations of how the Court relies on States and other bodies in fulfilling its mandate. These arrests necessitated a complex process involving cooperation with the territorial State, States Parties and international organisations.

The Office also always explores the possibilities for voluntary appearance by suspects where the conditions necessitating the issuance of a warrant are not met. The appearance of a large number of suspects pursuant to summonses demonstrates the viability and utility of this mechanism. This includes the voluntary appearance of Bahr Idriss Abu Garda; Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain; Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus; William Samoei Ruto; Henry Kiprono Kosgey; Joshua Arap Sang; Francis Kirimi Muthaura; Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta; and Mohammed Hussein Ali.