FP Passport’s Poor Reporting on the ICC (Edited)
I expect sloppy reporting from the traditional media, but not from the normally excellent FP Passport. So I was surprised to read the following in a post by Michael Wilkerson implying that the ICC has accomplished almost nothing:
But with so much scorn and a suspect arrested for only one of its outstanding warrants — former Congo rebel commander Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo — the ICC needs help if it is to accomplish its mission of discouraging impunity…. To preserve the ICC’s relevance, the trial of Gombo will need to go very well, and some sort of progress will be needed on the Bashir case. What are the odds either of these will happen?
As the page to which Wilkerson links makes clear — and as anyone even passingly acquainted with the ICC’s work knows — Bemba is one of four suspects in custody; the others are Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, Germain Katanga, and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui from the DRC. (Bahr Idriss Abu Garda from the Sudan voluntarily appeared in request to a summons and is free until his next hearing.) And, of course, Lubanga’s trial is already underway, whereas Bemba’s case is still at the pre-trial stage.
Wilkerson also references the Pre-Trial Chamber’s rejection of the genocide charges against Bashir without noting that the Chamber recently granted leave to appeal the Article 58 issue. That was obviously a deliberate omission on Wilkerson’s part — intended to make the OTP look as bad as possible — given that the Reuters article to which Wilkerson links specifically mentions the appeal.
FP Passport should really do better. The ICC has enough problems without having to deal with ones invented by journalists.
P.S. I know this sounds nitpicky, but I think it’s revealing that Wilkerson refers to “Gombo.” The ICC — and everyone else — almost always refers to him as “Bemba” or “Bemba Gombo.” Someone who follows the Court closely enough to credibly criticize it would know that.