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Why the ICC Should Operate Within Peace Processes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 April 2012


Is it ethical for the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) to consider political factors, such as peace processes, in selecting situations to investigate or cases to prosecute? During the early years of the court, a number of documents and statements from the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) suggested that there were occasions when it was. Two OTP policy papers issued in 2003 recommended that the prosecutor assess “all circumstances prevailing in the country or region concerned, including the nature and stage of the conflict and any intervention by the international community,” and whether prosecution might “exacerbate or otherwise destabilize a conflict situation.” In the same spirit, the ICC's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, referred to his decision-making as a “dialogue between many actors” with a “strategic dimension . . . [that] involves all stakeholders.” This language suggested a process of consultation and coordination with local and international actors involved in conflict resolution to adapt international criminal justice to on-the-ground political realities.

Roundtable: The Political Ethics of the International Criminal Court
Copyright © Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs 2012

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