Friday, June 8, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

AU v ICC: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda Fires First Salvo

In a previous post written soon after Ms Fatou Bensouda's election as the ICC's new prosecutor, I noted that she assumes office with a heavy burden on her shoulders. I suggested that this burden consists of balancing a number of often competing objectives: cultivating waning support for the ICC in Africa by presenting the Office of the Prosecutor in a less abrasive way; remaining focused on her job while navigating a mined geopolitical terrain and; pushing forward current situations and cases while reorienting the direction ICC in order to truly internationalize its operations.

I argued that while her election was rightly celebrated in Africa, those who expect her to be soft on Africa or to make drastic changes would be disappointed. I noted that while it is accurate that she got the job partly because there was a need to keep AU members in the fold, she confronts challenges of a structural nature that she will not be able to change. Equally, I suggested that she could be compelled to act tough on Africa precisely because she would like to avoid criticism that she was going easy on Africa (because she is African). In this regarded, I noted that:

There is no doubt the AU will watch her every move, and I will not be surprised if some demands are made on her in the Al Bashir matter. She may have no choice but to rebuff these overtures. Her burden clearly is do her job in a way that does not open her to criticism globally for being ‘soft’ on Africa, merely because she is African. My suspicion is that it is precisely for this reason that she could be firmer than Ocampo, although in a more diplomatic and accommodating way.

My words are turning out to be prescient. In a recent speech that has been analyzed in an interesting post by Alana Tiemessen on Justiceinconcflict Blog, Ms Bensouda has fired the first salvo. Her comments suggest - as I speculated in my earlier post - that it would not only be business as usual (a la Ocampo), but she would actually be tougher on African states than her predecessor. Interesting times ahead. The ceasefire could have been breached. The honeymoon is over.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Is Ocampo Taking Sides in Cote d'Ivoire?

Louis Moreno-Ocampo, the outgoing Prosecutor of the ICC, has apparently sent a letter to Guillaume Soro congratulating him for his election as the Speaker of the National Assembly in Cote d'Ivoire. Mr Soro is the immediate former Prime Minister, an ally of President Ouattara, and (former) leader of Forces Nouvelles (FN), an armed group that once controlled the North of the Country. FN were part of the coalition of armed forces that removed Laurent Gbagbo from power. Reports have linked FN, under the leadership of Soro, to serious crimes committed in the recent conflict that the ICC should at least investigate.

Kevin Jon Heller of Opinio Juris analyses this, and other previous missteps by Ocampo., Read HERE.

Does this gesture indicate that the Office of the Prosecutor has taken sides, in ways that would suggest bias against Gbagbo's side? Is victors justice at work in Cote d'Ivoire?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The ICC and the Limits of Deterrence

An interesting piece on JIC regarding the deterrent effect of the ICC. This analysis examines whether, in the context of the ICC's work in the DRC and the recent conviction on 14th March 2012 of Lubanga, the ICC's work a deterrent effect.

Read here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Is the ICC and International Justice Racist?

A few days ago, Courtenay Griffiths, Charles Taylor's defence lawyer at the Special Court for Sierra Leone sitting in the Hague injected a-not-so-new but previously unspoken claim against the ICC, and international criminal justice in general:that the ICC is racist. this adds a new strand to the the accurate, yet not universally accepted criticism of international justice as selective justice.

Mr Griffiths, is reported to have stated as follows:

“If one goes down to the Old Bailey… on any given day if you troll around the court, you’ll find that roughly ninety percent of all the defendants on trial in that Court are, guess what? Black. … What we’re seeing in terms of international law currently is the replication of that association between criminality and black-ness which one sees at the national level not only here in the United Kingdom but in any significant Western country with a black population.”

This claim is already generating debate among scholars. In response to this claim - Mark Kersten of JusticeinConflict Blog, one of the more informative blogs on the subject, has taken the issue head on. Kersten's rather problematic argument that while the ICC can rightly be criticized for selectivity but not as racist because African states joined willingly has rightly provoked vigorous responses.

Read the blog post here, and be sure to read the comments at the end!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Impact of ICC Confirmation of Charges Decisions on Kenyan Life

As we await the decisions of the ICC tomorrow (23 January 2012) on whether any or all of the six Kenyans facing ICC charges have a case to answer and will thus be committed to trial, two interesting reports - one by the International Crisis Group (ICJ) and the other by the Brookings Institution in the USA - consider the impact of the decisions on politics and other aspects of life in Kenya. Access the ICG report here and the Brookings one here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Scenarios Relating to ICC Confirmation of Charges in Kenya

Watch interview given to Capital FM Radio here and follow the story here