Jurisdiction in the general situation
In June 2002, Uganda ratified the Rome Statute, and in January 2004, it referred the situation in its territory since 1 July 2002 to the ICC. The ICC therefore may exercise its jurisdiction over crimes listed in the Rome Statute committed on the territory of Uganda or by its nationals from 1 July 2002 onwards.
Context and alleged crimes
The ICC investigations in Uganda have focussed on alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the context of an armed conflict predominantly between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the national authorities, mainly in Northern Uganda, since 1 July 2002.
Upon receiving the referral from the Ugandan Government, the Office of the Prosecutor issued a press release stating: “A key issue will be locating and arresting the LRA leadership. This will require the active cooperation of states and international institutions in supporting the efforts of the Ugandan authorities. Many of the members of the LRA are themselves victims, having been abducted and brutalised by the LRA leadership. The reintegration of these individuals into Ugandan society is key to the future stability of Northern Uganda. This will require the concerted support of the international community – Uganda and the Court cannot do this alone.”
Investigations opened in July 2004, and alleged crimes in this situation include:
war crimes, including murder; cruel treatment of civilians; intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population; pillaging; inducing rape; and forced enlistment of children; and
crimes against humanity, including murder; enslavement; sexual enslavement; rape; and inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering.
This situation led the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber judges to issue the Court’s first warrant of arrest in 2005, against top members of the LRA. All suspects remained at large for a decade, until one LRA member, Dominic Ongwen, surrendered himself in January 2015. Other top members of the LRA, Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti remain at large.