A Reflection on the International Criminal Court with Luis Moreno Ocampo

On April 16, 2013, Mr. Luis Moreno Ocampo, the former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court visited New York Law School to discuss the dilemmas currently confronting the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Mr. Ocampo began the discussion by reflecting on the evolution of the Court since its inception in 2002 and the unique challenges he faced as the first Chief Prosecutor of the Court, such as selecting which issues the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) should handle first.  Mr. Ocampo and his colleagues at the OTP were guided by three policies in making the decision: respecting the principle of complementarity, fulfilling the Court’s mandate to prevent future crimes and punishing the most responsible individuals. 

The topics covered ranged from the impact of Uhuru Kenyatta as President of Kenya on the OTP’s current investigation in Kenya to criticism that the OTP operates with an African bias.   The OTP’s investigation in Kenya has garnered attention in recent months with allegations of witness fraud and the election of the main defendant, Uhuru Kenyatta to the Office of the President.  Mr. Kenyatta is wanted by the Court for his alleged involvement in the post-election violence that followed Kenya’s disputed December 2007 presidential election.  Mr. Kenyatta is now the second sitting head of state wanted by the ICC after Sudan’s President, Omar al-Bashir.

The International Criminal Court is playing an increasingly influential role in international politics today.  The Court has been cited in 12 United Nations Security Council resolutions and has been championed by State parties and non-State parties to the ICC alike as a tool of justice and accountability.  In March 2013, the United States and Rwanda, two non-parties to the ICC and who strongly oppose the Court, assisted in the transfer of warlord Bosco Ntaganda from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Hague.

Mr. Ocampo views the ICC as an instrument of both national and international transitional justice and believes the future success of the Court hinges on strengthening the relationship between the Court, States and societies.  The discussion with Mr. Ocampo was interesting and insightful.  The event was well attended and brought together law students, faculty members and professionals in the public and private sphere who asked thoughtful questions and added value to the discussion.

To view the event with Mr. Ocampo, please click here.

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