Mali signed an agreement [press release] Friday with the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] to become the first African country to agree to enforce the ICC's sentences of imprisonment. Article 103 of the Rome Statute [text], which governs the ICC, states that "[a] sentence of imprisonment shall be served in a State designated by the Court from a list of States which have indicated to the Court their willingness to accept sentenced persons." Mali joins Finland, Belgium, Denmark, the UK and Austria as countries which have agreed to detain individuals convicted by the ICC. Finland, Belgium and Denmark were the most recent countries to agree to take convicts [JURIST report].
The ICC has been heavily involved in prosecuting crimes against humanity in Africa. In December the ICC urged international cooperation [JURIST report] in executing arrest warrants for suspects accused in the Darfur conflict [ICC materials]. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [ICC materials; JURIST news archive] is currently at-large and faces seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity as well as three charges of genocide [JURIST reports]. Also in December, former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo [BBC profile] was brought into custody and appeared before the ICC [JURIST report] to face charges of murder, persecution, inhumane acts, and rape and other forms of sexual violence allegedly committed during 2010's post-election violence [JURIST news archive] in the Ivory Coast. In November the ICC indicated that it would allow Libya to conduct the trial of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi [JURIST report], son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi [BBC profile], despite concerns over whether he could possibly receive a fair trial. In August the ICC concluded its first war crimes trial [JURIST report], the trial of Democratic Republic of Congo militia leader Thomas Lubanga [ICC materials; BBC profile] for enlisting child soldiers and committing large-scale human rights abuses in Congo's violent Ituri district. In June Kenya appealed [JURIST report] the ICC's refusal to transfer two cases against high-ranking Kenyan officials for their alleged involvement in the violence after the 2007 Kenyan elections [JURIST news archive]. The Kenyan men facing charges in the ICC, the "Ocampo Six," are accused of inciting violence after the 2007 Kenyan elections which resulted in more than 1,100 deaths, 3,500 injuries, hundreds of rapes and up to 600,000 individuals being forcibly displaced.