Posted by: sean | April 15, 2009

Luis Moreno Ocampo, Darfur and the ICC

Julie Flint and Alex de Waal have penned a piece on Luis Moreno Ocampo for World Affairs Journal. I was expecting to read a balanced and somewhat detailed account of the objections that both have obviously taken with the ICC’s prosecutor, but I was somewhat disappointed. Many of his former colleagues are quoted, and the whole piece reads uncomfortably like a exercise in score-settling rather than an exploration of the Office of the Prosecutor’s strategy in bringing war criminals to justice.

Some of the points made are interesting and relevant, like the lack of investigating on the ground in Sudan, the strategical advantages of serving sealed warrants versus issuing public summonses, and the issue of how aggressive the court should be vis-à-vis the government in Khartoum. These discussions, however aren’t explored enough for my taste, and instead we get what read like gossipy accounts of bureaucratic infighting and accusations of sexual impropriety by Moreno Ocampo.

Still, there is certainly room for strategic and even tactical disagreement over the justice in Sudan. The problem is that the tone is getting shriller and shriller, and disagreements between academics and activists are becoming nastier and nastier. During the Belgian Senate proceedings on the Rwandan genocide, someone complained that the legislative body of that country was divided into Hutus and Tutsis. Let’s hope that Darfur doesn’t end up the same way.

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