Response to ‘A Waste of Hope’
The following letter from a senior ICC official has been published in World Affairs in response to the article by Julie Flint and Alex de Waal on the Prosecutor.
Luis Moreno Ocampo
Alex de Waal advance against Luis Moreno Ocampo (“Case Closed,” Spring 2009), it helps to know that the authors’ real grievance is that leveling international charges against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is a mistake. The authors put forward Moreno Ocampo as the alleged incompetent, but their true disagreement is with a host of actors: the ICC Judges, who issued the warrant naming Bashir; the governments of the U.S., U.K., and France, who have firmly resisted calls to defer Bashir’s prosecution; the UN Security Council, which referred the Darfur case to the ICC back in 2005; and Darfuris themselves, who favor the view that peace in Darfur will not be attained absent justice. I can state that their portrayal of Moreno Ocampo’s ICC tenure rests on a base of misstated facts and material omissions. The authors also fail to disclose the interests and biases of their (unnamed) sources. The authors also fall well short of proving that Moreno Ocampo’s tenure has been incompetent or that he has acted “without borders.” Moreno Ocampo’s decision that his criminal investigators could not safely operate in Darfur was cautious and, in the end, correct. The Sudanese government indeed detained and tortured persons believed to be cooperating with the ICC and recently expelled aid groups based on the same pretext. Most have judged that this Prosecutor’s tenure has been characterized by extreme conservatism in executing the prosecutorial mandate: four investigations opened in the world’s worst conflicts and in each case following either self-referral by an involved State or referral by the Security Council. The Prosecutor’s strict observance of boundaries is what accounts, in no small part, for the Bush administration’s abandonment, over time, of its categorical opposition to support for the court’s work. The issue is not the man or the woman: it’s the mandate and, now, the institution. The view of Flint and de Waal””to propose no solution other than to let even the world’s worst atrocities continue””is becoming obsolete. Discussing policy might be more productive than engaging in character assassination.
Former ICC Senior Trial