The List: The World’s Six Most Wanted War Criminals
Now that former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic is stewing in The Hague, what other notorious war criminals are still on the loose?
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Omar Hassan al-Bashir
President of Sudan
Crime and status: Indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity, and two of murder. His indictment is currently pending in the U.N. Security Council.
Why the world is after him: The ICCs latest centerfold is the first sitting president ever to be accused of genocide by the court. Bashir, who seized power in a 1989 coup, is considered a chief culprit in the more than 35,000 confirmed deaths (and reportedly 300,000 others) that resulted from a campaign of ethnic cleansing in Darfur by government troops and the notorious Arab Janjaweed militia. Many also blame Bashir for the ongoing suffering of the 2.5 million conflict-displaced Sudanese citizens who have been subject to militia and government-sponsored rape and torture in refugee camps. Bashir is having none of it. He claims the indictment is part of a historic plot to break Sudan up into smaller states, refuses to recognize the court, and denies any wrongdoing.
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Leader of Ugandas rebel Lords Resistance Army (LRA)
Crime and status: Indicted by ICC judges in July 2005 for war crimes and crimes against humanity, Kony has reportedly been hiding out near the border of southern Sudan and the Congo for the last several years
Why the world is after him: One of the worlds most infamous poster boys for combat crimes, Kony has led the LRA against the Ugandan government for the past 20 years, employing young boys as warriors to wage his spiritually based campaign of violence that infamously includes hacking off victims lips and limbs. Much of the carnage has happened in Konys native northern Uganda, where he is thought responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands and the displacement of two million more. Hoping to bring an end to the LRAs reign of terror, Ugandas President Yoweri Museveni offered a general amnesty to Kony and his rebels in 2006, the same year the two parties finally struck a truce. But with the ICC arrest warrant still out, Kony and Uganda are caught in a Catch-22: The leader refuses to disband his army until the court drops its charges. And in April, Kony balked at further peace, claiming he needed more time to consult elders and contemplate the charges. With all the damage hes done, he might be contemplating them for quite some time.
Chief of staff for the Bosnian Serb Army during the Bosnian war
Crime and status: Wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal of the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as of 1995 for 15 criminal counts, including genocide, crimes against humanity, and violation of war customs
Bounty: 6 million euros (5 million from the United States; 1 million from Serbia)
Why the world is after him: Propelled back into headlines with the recent arrest of Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb armys top dog is wanted for a slew of atrocities committed during the Balkan war. Foremost among Mladics crimes is the 1995 slaughter of nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys, carried out in Srebrenica under Bosnian Serb troops campaign for regional ethnic cleansing. Hes also wanted for the shelling Sarajevo that same year, for subjecting thousands of Bosnian Muslim civilians to rape and torture, and for destroying homes, businesses, and religious sites. But being one of the worlds most sought-after fugitives doesnt seem to have scared Mladic away from his crime sceneshes allegedly hiding in Serbia in plain sight and was spotted in downtown Belgrade in early 2001.
Public domain image
Nazi doctor at Mauthausen concentration camp
Charges and status: Indicted by Germany on charges of murder
Bounty: $495,000 (offered by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre and the German and Austrian governments)
Why the world is after him: Known as Dr. Death and the butcher of Mauthausen, Heim is wanted for conducting some pretty gruesome experiments on his concentration-camp victims, including removing organs without using anesthesia and injecting poison and petrol into their hearts. Captured by the U.S. military in 1946, Heim was held for just two years before being released without trial. He went on to work as a gynecologist in Germany until whispers of a pending indictment caused him to flee to South America in 1962. If alive, Heim would be one of the oldest war criminals today at 94 years old. Investigators on the case believe they are closing in on the notorious Nazi somewhere near Chile, where one of his daughters lives. With the Argentinean government helping out on the case, theres still hope Heim could be foundand perhaps stay alive long enough to face justice.
Multimillionaire Rwandan businessman
Crime and status: Indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1998 for genocide, crimes against humanity, and violations of the Geneva Convention
Bounty: $5 million (put up by the U.S. government)
Why the world is after him: Kabuga is best known as the bucks behind the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which half a million people were butchered by government forces and Hutu militias. The cofounder and chairman of the Fonds de Dfense Nationale (FDN), Kabuga reportedly used his organization to supply Rwandas government with machetes and other weapons used in its campaign of terror. He also gave money to Rwandas infamous radio station that incited hate and violence against the countrys Tutsi population. Even in the genocides wake, Kabuga continued to back violent Hutu militias, including the Congo-based Interahamwe militiamen. Now in his 60s, hes still on the lambut no ones quite sure where. The U.N. Tribunal pegs him in Kenya, where he has reportedly secured government protection, but a conflicting report in May said he could be hiding out in Norway.
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Military chief of staff of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), a militia group based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Charges and status: Arrest warrant issued by ICC in 2006 and unsealed in April 2008, for war crimes of enlistment, conscription, and active use of children under the age of 15 for military activities.
Bounty: None (yet)
Why the world is after him: Nicknamed the Terminator, Ntaganda has been at the center of the Congos conflict since 1999, when he fought on the side of the Rwandan-backed rebels in a multi-front war that involved eight African countries. Ntaganda is wanted for enlisting children in the 2002 to 2003 conflict in the DRCs northern district of Ituri, when he served as the chief of military operations for the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC). The Terminators path of destruction, however, doesnt end there. In 2006, he became military chief of staff of the CNDP, which is blamed for violence against citizens in the countrys eastern regions. A ceasefire between several DRC parties this past January has led to renewed calls for Ntagandas handover, but so far CNDP leaders have refused, claiming that the authorities should instead focus on bringing bigger fish to justice.
*Editor’s note: The original version of this article wrongly stated that there is a $1.7 million bounty for Joseph Kony issued by the ICC. That was incorrect, as ICC spokesman Matthew Brubacher informed us by e-mail. He wrote: [T]here is no monetary reward offered by the ICC for states to fulfill their statutory obligations. FP regrets the error.