Idle — and Ridiculous — Threats Courtesy of Moreno-Ocampo

by Kevin Jon Heller

Like most people who believe in international criminal justice, I’m frustrated by the Sudanese government’s ability to stonewall the ICC regarding its innumerable crimes in Darfur.  But reactions like these don’t help:

Moreno-Ocampo, who stands down as ICC chief prosecutor in two weeks, called on the Security Council to take tougher action to detain President Omar al-Bashir and other Sudanese officials wanted for war crimes and genocide in Darfur.

Sudan’s UN ambassador accused the prosecutor, however, of investigating for “political motives” and giving “wrong information” about the conflict in which the UN says more than 300,000 people have died since 2003.

Sudan rejected all of Moreno-Ocampo’s recommendations, said ambassador Daff-Alla Elhag Ali Osman.

Following the fiery attack, Moreno-Ocampo said his office would investigate the ambassador’s comments.

“His activities denying the crimes in Darfur could be considered part of the crimes,” Moreno-Ocampo told the council.

The ICC will “investigate if Mr Daff-Alla Elhag Ali Osman’s denial of the crimes committed could be considered a contribution to the perpetrators, acting with a common purpose.”

He said “appropriate measures” would be taken if investigators decided there was a case for a formal inquiry.

Give me a break.  I’m not even going to dignify Moreno-Ocampo’s claims with a legal analysis.  There is, quite simply, nothing to be gained by these kind of intemperate comments.  They just make Moreno-Ocampo and — worse — the OTP seem childish and petty.

Fatou Bensouda can’t replace Moreno-Ocampo soon enough.  In the meantime, I suggest that the ICC’s judges invoke their plenary power and order Moreno-Ocampo to stop talking.

http://opiniojuris.org/2012/06/10/idle-and-ridiculous-threats-courtesy-of-moreno-ocampo/

8 Responses

  1. Yes, I agree with you. He must stop now!
     

  2. Response… This is, indeed, quite silly — secret of life:  know when to quit !

  3. Not to be argumentative or anything, and I agree that LMO should stop talking, but if incitment is considered a discrete crime under ICL, which could be considered as not an indirect participation in the crime ex ante, why not criminalize denial as either ex post participation, or even as incitment, especially when it comes from persons alleged to br linked to the actual commission of the crimes in the first place? I know it’s a little outlandish, but not any more ridiculous than some other ICL theories…

  4. Well, to respond to Jacobs with the obvious objection, we shouldn’t be criminalizing a declaration of innocence.

  5. I disagree with the previous comment and i cannot quite after reading this sentence:
    “It will become far more difficult to argue the Court exhibits undue bias towards African nations and leaders if it is an African who is ultimately responsible for issuing indictments”.
    My thoughts is that the nommination of Fatou Bensouda has not or shouldn’t has a link with the fact of ICC bias towards African nations and leaders. I mean that the fact of being african cannot change the argument of “bias towards African” if OTP continious to prosecute only african and closes eyes on other crimes accross the world. Something that you perhaps forgive is that an ICC african prosecutor is able to prosecute only african. I precise “only african” because the problematic “2 poids 2 mesures” is not the fact that OTP prosecute africans but the fact that OTP prosecute only african and quite other crimes. So i think that it is a false debate to link “where FB is from” to “what kind of indictments the OTP will issu in future. It is not ridiculous that african prosecutor, prosecutes only african despite the fact that OTP “boat chief” is an african. In this last case, the argument of ICC’s “bias” will be said and told again – regardless the continent on which the chief is from, if OTP continious to quite crimes under ICC juristictions which are committed out of Africa.  
     

  6. A question to Dov Jacobs: which ICL theories you think “ridiculous”?
    I think that if ICL theories seem ridiculous to you or to other persons, it’s because that the subject which is in question is Human being not an abstract entities. Of course, ICL is an International Law first but an Int’l Law which goes beyond Int’l Law generic or “wesphalian” theories because of the subject which it trying to protect.
     

  7. This a response to “Poisoned Chalice? New ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda Sworn In – Human Rights in Ireland”
    It substitues my previous comment?
    I disagree with your point of view. You think that:
    “It will become far more difficult to argue the Court exhibits undue bias towards African nations and leaders if it is an African who is ultimately responsible for issuing indictments”.

    My thoughts is that the nomination of Fatou Bensouda has not or shouldn’t has a link with the fact of ICC bias towards African nations and leaders. I mean that the fact of being african cannot change the argument of “bias towards African” if OTP continious to prosecute only african and closes eyes on other crimes accross the world. Something that you perhaps forget is that an ICC african prosecutor is able to prosecute only african. I precise “only african” because the problematic “2 poids 2 mesures” is not the fact that OTP prosecutes africans but the fact that OTP prosecutes only africans and quit other crimes. So i think that it is a false debate to link “where FB is from” to “what kind of indictments the OTP will issu in future. It is not ridiculous that african prosecutor, prosecutes only african despite the fact that OTP “boat chief” is an african. In this last case, the argument of ICC’s “bias” will be said and told again – regardless the continent on which the chief is from, if OTP continious to ignore crimes under ICC juristiction committed out of Africa. 

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  1. [...] Pádraig McAuliffe Hello there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed to keep up to date with new posts. You might also find our Welcome page of help to you in navigating the blog.Powered by WP Greet Box WordPress PluginThe Gambian Fatou Bensouda was sworn in this morning as the International Criminal Court’s new Chief Prosecutor, succeeding the Argentine Luis Moreno-Ocampo. Much has been made of the fact that she is the first woman to hold the post, but given that she is only the second chief prosecutor and the Swiss Carla Del Ponte served as Chief Prosecutor of two ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, the precedent is perhaps less important than it seems. On the other hand, her status as the first African to head the team of prosecutors at the tribunal is highly significant. The Office of the Prosecutor is investigating 15 cases in seven countries, all of them African. The African Union demanded an African prosecutor, and now has got one. It will be interesting to observe whether the anti-Hague rhetoric it has indulged in since the Al-Bashir indictment will be toned down. Bensouda may help re-kindle the initial enthusiasm shown by the surprising number of ratifications south of the Sahara in the years after the Rome Statute. It will become far more difficult to argue the Court exhibits undue bias towards African nations and leaders if it is an African who is ultimately responsible for issuing indictments. Moreno-Ocampo will not be missed – his parting act two weeks ago of threatening a Sudanese ambassador with investigation for complicity in crimes after the latter denied any crimes occurred in Darfur sums up all too well his aversion to keeping his own counsel and his counter-productive tin-ear for political reality. [...]