Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim A.A. Khan KC, on the referral by the Democratic Republic of the Congo regarding the situation in its territory
The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has submitted a new referral to the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC), exercising its prerogative, as a State Party, under article 14(1) of the Rome Statute. In its referral, the Government of the DRC requests that the Court initiate an investigation into alleged crimes under the Statute committed in North Kivu province of DRC, from 1 January 2022 to date.
This is the second referral by the Government of the DRC concerning alleged Rome Statute crimes committed on its territory. The first referral, received in March 2004, requested the Prosecutor to investigate alleged crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court committed in the territory of the DRC from 1 July 2002 onwards. The first referral resulted in the opening of an investigation in June 2004 and the prosecution of a number of cases against individuals responsible for Rome Statute crimes committed during the armed conflict in the DRC.
The new referral is accompanied by supporting documentation and requests the Office to investigate particular armed forces and groups allegedly responsible for Rome Statute crimes committed in North Kivu. In this context, my Office has informed the DRC authorities that the scope of the referral will be assessed in line with the principles in the Statute. Consequently, all alleged crimes committed within the scope of the referred situation by any person, irrespective of affiliation or nationality, will be analysed.
On 5 June 2023, I notified the Presidency of the Court regarding the referral.
In terms of next steps, I intend to conduct a preliminary examination promptly in order to assess, as a preliminary matter, whether the scope of the two situations referred by the DRC Government are sufficiently linked to constitute a single situation.