“Case Closed: A Prosecutor Without Borders” by Julie Flint and Alex de Waal. World Affairs. Spring 2009.
In their extensive assessment of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and specifically its Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo, researchers Julie Flint and Alex de Waal detail the multitude of striking problems facing the once promising global institution.
“[The ICC] promised to be a turning point in the struggle for human rights and against impunity, a landmark in the advance of global ethics.”
According to Flint and de Waal, little progress has been made in achieving justice under the mandate of the ICC. Despite hopeful rhetoric from UN officials, the last six years have witnessed meager progress in prosecuting offenders such as Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a Congolese militia leader, and perhaps most importantly, Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan. Significantly, as illustrated by in-depth commentaries from Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) staff, Moreno Ocampo has routinely undermined the progress of the Court through his rash decision making. Moreover, in his position as Prosecutor, Moreno Ocampo has focused on creating a “sexy court” that for many critics is based on public opinion rather than justice for victims.
“Lawyers and investigators who served in the OTP, and who count among the brightest and the best in their profession, say they believe the Court’s reputation, and perhaps even its life, is at risk.”
Citing organizational and management problems under Moreno Ocampo, countless ICC Office of the Prosecutor staff have left the institution, and many blame Moreno Ocampo for its limited success. Additionally, some high level UN officials fear that if left to his own devices, Moreno Ocampo will continue to undermine the progress of the ICC, and more specifically, its promise of achieving international justice and accountability. For Flint and de Waal, it is necessary for the international community to reassess the role of Moreno Ocampo as Prosecutor in order to best position the ICC to be able to exercise its mandate and address the violent conflicts and pressing human rights violations witnessed across the globe.
These issues and others are considered in this month’s Roundtable.