The International Criminal Court will conduct preliminary examination in Gabon regarding the situation in Gabon since May 2016.
This follows a referral received by the ICC prosecutor from the government of Gabon on 21 September 2016 requesting her “to open an investigation without delay”.
In response to the request, the prosecutor indicated in a press statement that,
“In accordance with the requirement of the Rome Statute my Office will be conducting a preliminary examination in order to establish whether the criteria for opening an investigation are met. A preliminary examination is not an investigation but a process of examining the information available in order to reach a fully informed determination on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation pursuant to the criteria established by the Rome Statute.”
In determining whether to open an investigation the prosecutor must consider the legal authority of the ICC to deal with the matter, whether what they have is admissible and the interests of justice in making this determination. The Office gives due consideration to all submissions and views conveyed to it during the course of a preliminary examination, strictly guided by the requirements of the Rome Statute and in the independent and impartial exercise of its mandate.
In her press statement, the prosecutor said her Office will examine information regarding crimes allegedly committed by any groups or individuals involved in the situation. After careful analysis of all available information, she will make a decision that will be made public.
Gabon ratified the Rome Statute, and as such, the ICC has jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed on the territory or by nationals of Gabon since 1 July 2002, the date when the Statute entered into force in Gabon.
The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC conducts independent and impartial preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecution of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Office has been conducting investigations in: Uganda; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, Sudan; the Central African Republic (two separate investigations); Kenya; Libya; Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Georgia. The Office is also conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Afghanistan; Burundi; the registered vessels of Comoros, Greece and Cambodia; Colombia; Guinea; Iraq/UK; Palestine, Nigeria and Ukraine.