NYU Law Convenes Experts’ Meeting on the Independence of the ICC Prosecutor

NYU Law Convenes Experts’ Meeting on the Independence of the ICC Prosecutor

For those in NYC tomorrow, I wanted to note that NYU Law is hosting what promises to be an informative experts’ meeting tomorrow on the International Criminal Court.  Here’s the event description:

How best to assure the independence of the ICC Prosecutor

Friday, Nov. 11th from 6-7:30 p.m.

NYU School of Law,  Lipton Hall, Faculty Club, 108 West 3rd Street, New York, New York

The independence of the Court as a whole and of the Prosecution in particular, is the cornerstone of the system of justice established by the Rome Statute. By establishing the proprio motu powers of the Prosecutor to open an investigation subject to judicial review, the Rome Statute created a new autonomous actor in the international scene. The hope was to ensure that the requirements of justice would prevail over political decisions in accordance with the rule of law.

The Rome drafters sought to make sure that the Court’s intervention, including decisions to indict and prosecute, would be based on legal, not political, criteria. To this end, the Rome Statute authorizes the Prosecutor to identify situations to be investigated in accordance with the legal requisites established by Article 53, subject only to the oversight of the ICC’s judges. In an effort to guarantee prosecutorial independence, Article 42 of the Statute further stipulates that the entire Office of the Prosecutor shall act independently as a separate organ of the Court and that the members of that Office shall not be subject to instruction from external sources.

The Assembly of States Parties (ASP) has recognized the significance of maintaining prosecutorial independence. At its last session, it stressed its respect “for the judicial independence of the Court and its commitment to ensuring respect for and the implementation of its judicial decisions.”

The Office’s independence is an important contributor to the legitimacy of the Court as a whole. Some of the Prosecutor’s and the Court’s decisions have created tensions or confronted certain political agendas, most notably in the case against Sudanese President Al Bashir. However the Prosecutor and Court decisions generally have been supported by States and relevant actors. But challenges to the Office’s independence remain.. It is evident that the Court’s and the Prosecutor’s vaulted independence can be jeopardized indirectly, as through the denial of resources, mismanagement, or even efforts to impose oversight.

In its upcoming session in December 2011, the Assembly of States Parties will select a new Prosecutor and define aspects of the institutional framework of the Court, including oversight mechanisms. NYU is convening an expert meeting to discuss theses issues and their relevance to the independence of the Court and Prosecutor’s Office.

Public Program
Professor José E. Alvarez (NYU School of Law): Moderator
ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on the experience of the first Prosecutor
Professor Héctor Olásolo (Utrecht University) on the relations between the ASP, the subsidiary bodies and the Court
Ambassador Christian Wenaweser on the role of the President of the ASP vis-à-vis the ICC Prosecutor

Questions and Answers from the floor, time permitting.

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Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh
Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh

As a Catholic physician who has met many who have been sexually abused by priests, and as a person who was sexually assaulted by a Carmelite priest when I was a young doctor in Dublin, I believe that it will be better to choose a non-Catholic attorney to become the next Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
Catholics can be too deferential to Catholic clergy, and the Catholic Church leaders can manipulate Catholic professionals too easily, in my experience.
It is critically important for the truth to be found and to be made known with no compromise, so that healing of the victims can begin. 
I believe that priest and bishop sexual abuses of innocent children are crimes against humanity. I believe that Pope Benedict XVI and other members of the hierarchy must be made accountable for their part in allowing these crimes to continue and to flourish worldwide.
Sincerely,  Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, Chicago, Illinois, USA