When a Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) dismissed the court's very first case before trial, it made headlines worldwide. The Trial Chamber dismissed the case because the prosecutor repeatedly failed to disclose exculpatory evidence. He did so because he had obtained the evidence from the UN and NGOs pursuant to confidentiality agreements that prevented disclosure without permission, which the UN and NGOs had not granted. The prosecutor, stuck between two competing obligations—the disclosure obligation that he owed the accused and the confidentiality obligation that he owed the UN—adhered to the latter, a decision that the Trial Chamber deemed to “rupture” the trial process to such a degree that a fair trial was impossible.
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