The International Criminal Court (ICC) has come under heavy criticism, particularly from the African Union (AU), for disproportionately targeting Africa.
In its 13 year history, the court has only charged African nationals, but perhaps more interestingly, some regions within continent are more likely to attract the attention of the Court than others.
The wider eastern Africa region leads the continent in having the most active cases at the Hague-based Court.
Of the 29 cases currently before the ICC, 25 are from the Eastern and Central African region – a list that not only includes rebel leaders and senior military generals, but also a former vice president, a current vice president and a sitting head of state.
In East Africa, authorities in Kenya are still reeling from the recent decision by ICC judges to admit recanted evidence from five witnesses in the cases against the country’s Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang.
Mr Ruto is the last high profile Kenyan individual charged at the Court over the 2007 post-election violence that lead to the deaths of over 1,000 people and displaced more than 600,000.
The Court has since dismissed the cases against four other senior Kenyan political and government figures, including the country’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, whose charges were dropped last December by the prosecutor for lack of evidence.
Deputy President Ruto, and Mr Sang, who is accused of using his position as a radio talk host to coordinate attacks, will be filing an appeal against the decision by the Trial Chamber to allow the prosecution to use recanted evidence.
In 2013, the ICC also issued a warrant of arrest against another Kenyan journalist, Walter Baraza, for three counts of attempting to obstruct justice by “corruptly or attempting to corruptly influencing three ICC witnesses.”
Uganda has three cases before the Court, with the notorious warlord Joseph Kony, being the most high profile individual from the country to be charged at the Court.
Mr Kony, a self-styled “commander-in-chief” of the Lord’s resistance Army (LRA) militia, terrorised Northern Uganda and the Great Lakes region for more than a quarter of a century.
He is facing 33 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Uganda since 2002, but he is still at large a decade since his arrest warrant was issued in 2005.
Vincent Otti, LRA’s second in command, faces eleven counts of crimes against humanity. Even though he is rumoured to have been killed in 2007, prosecution still has his case open until it can independently verify his alleged death.
Another suspect, Raska Lukwiya, a deputy commander in LRA, was confirmed dead in 2006. The Court has since withdrawn his case.
In July, ICC prosecutors terminated the case against another LRA deputy army commander, Okot Odhiambo, whom the Court confirmed was killed on February 2014 in Central African Republic (CAR) during combat with the Ugandan army.
With almost all top LRA commanders either dead or captured, Dominic Ongwen, the lowest ranking of the five LRA leaders charged at the ICC, was captured by Seleka rebels in CAR in January.
Seleka rebels handed him over to US forces, who in turn handed him over to the Ugandans who returned him to CAR forces to be sent him to The Hague for trial for crimes against humanity.
On Thursday, the Pre-Trial Chamber recommended holding Ongwen’s confirmation of charges hearing in Uganda, close to the location of where the alleged crimes were committed. He faces three counts of crimes against humanity and four counts of war crimes.
In Sudan, all suspects are still at large, including President Omar al Bashir who has been evading arrest from ICC since the Court issued an arrest warrant against him in 2009.
He has since been able to travel to more than a dozen countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia without being arrested. South Africa was criticised by world leaders for failing to detain President Bashir during an AU summit in Johannesburg in June.
Mr Bashir faces five counts of crimes against humanity, including murder and torture; two counts of war crimes, and three counts of genocide committed in Darfur.
Other Sudanese nationals indicted alongside the president include Ahmad Muhammad Harun, who is a former minister of Interior facing twenty counts of crimes against humanity and 22 counts of war crimes.
Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, the alleged leader of the ruthless militia, has been charged with 22 counts of crimes against humanity and 28 counts of war crimes.
The Court has only declined to confirm charges in the Sudan case against one suspect.
On April 2010, the Court refused to confirm the charges against Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, who was the chairman and general coordinator of military operations of the United Resistance Front (URF).
Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain, the commander of the Justice and Equality Movement, faces three counts of war crimes. He is still at large.
Meanwhile, the current defence minister, Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein, has a pending arrest warrant for six counts of crimes against humanity and seven counts of war crimes.
Central Africa dominates cases
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan have the most cases at the ICC compared to any other country in Africa, perhaps because of the many protracted conflicts that have rocked these two for decades.
There are 11 on-going cases from these states including the Court’s first and second convictions from DRC.
Thomas Lubanga, a former Congolese vice president, was found guilty in 2012 of enlisting children into his militia Patriotic Force for the Liberation of Congo (FPLC).
He was jailed for 14 years. The time he spent in ICC’s custody will however be deducted from this total sentence, while Germain Katanga, the leader of Patriotic Resistance Force in Ituri (FRPI), was convicted on March 2014 on five counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Meanwhile, Lubanga’s second in command is facing 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed while serving as the deputy chief of staff of Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC).
Mr Bosco Ntaganda is accused of murder, rape, sexual slavery, forcible transfer of population; including conscripting child soldiers and pillaging that were allegedly committed during the Ituri conflict in 2002-2003 that claimed over 60,000 lives.
His arrest warrant was issued in 2006, but Ntaganda had been in hiding since and only turned himself in early 2013 at the US embassy in Kigali, Rwanda which then handed him over to ICC dentition facilities at The Hague.
The former militia leader started his trial in early September where he told judges he was a “revolutionary” and not a mass killer.
Mr Callixte Mbarushimana, a Rwandan and a former employee of the United Nations, was released from ICC custody in December 2011 after the Court declined by majority to confirm the charges against him.
He was the alleged executive secretary of FDLR in eastern DRC. Mr Mbarushimana was charged with five counts of crimes against humanity and eight counts of war crimes committed in 2009.
He was arrested in France in October 2010 and extradited to the ICC on January 2011. Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, an alleged leader of the National Integrationist Front (FNI) in Ituri region, was also released from custody in December 2012.
The prosecutor appealed the decision but on February 2015, the Appeals Chamber confirmed, by majority, his acquittal.
Sylvestre Mudacumura, indicted in 2012 for committing nine counts of war crimes from 2009 to the end of September 2010 during the Kivu conflict, is still at large.
Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, a Congolese national who led the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), is charged with two counts of crimes against humanity and three counts of war crimes committed in in CAR in 2002 when he sent his militia to help put down a coup against President Ange-Félix Patassé.
In the Bemba case, four individuals from DRC and CAR, have a hearing on September 29 on charges of attempting to obstruct justice.
Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidèle Babala Wandu and Narcisse Arido are charged with corruptly influencing witnesses by giving them money and instructions to provide false testimony in the case against Mr Bemba between the end of 2011 and 2013.
CAR is also one of the countries being closely watched by the ICC prosecutor following the outbreak of sectarian violence in the last three years.
On May 2012, the prosecutor received a request from authorities in Bangui to investigate crimes committed in the country since the ouster of President François Bozizé.
In 2013, ICC prosecutor also announced that they were investigating crimes committed in Mali since 2012, making it the second country in West Africa with a case at the Court.
Côte d’Ivoire’s former president, Laurent Gbagbo, the first head of state to be taken to the Courts custody, is charged alongside his wife Simone Gbagbo, and former flamboyant youth leader Charles Blé Goudé.
He is charged with four counts of crimes against humanity including murder and rape committed during a post-election crisis triggered when he attempted to cling to power after being defeated by current President Allasane Ouatara in 2011. Opening of the trial is scheduled for 10th November.
In North Africa, Libya is the only Arab country with cases at the ICC.
After the collapse of Mohammad Gaddafi’s regime during the Arab Spring in 2011, the new administration refereed the country to the Court to prosecute former government officials who allegedly committed crimes against civilians.
Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, who is the son of Gadaffi, is charged with two counts of crimes against humanity as an indirect co-perpetrator. Abdullah Al-Senussi, a colonel in the Libyan military and current head of intelligence, had his case dismissed last year for lack of evidence.
The Court also terminated Mr Gaddafi’s case following his demise in 2011.