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The Art of Rhetoric: Perceptions of the International Criminal Court and Legalism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 September 2018


Perceptions of the International Criminal Court have undergone a deep malaise, particularly on the African continent. The frequent target of these perceptions is the Court’s Office of the Prosecutor; its prosecutorial selections have generated the most trenchant criticism of bias. These perceptions, often amplified by political elites and hostile media coverage, risk damaging the Court’s perceived legitimacy among its most essential audience: affected communities. These communities are crucial to the achievement of the Court’s goals, and are those within which justice must be seen to be done. In this light, this article conducts an analysis of the Office’s rhetoric and its ability to persuade affected communities that the Court is politically independent. The article outlines how the Office’s public communications express a key message of legalism; a belief in technical rule-compliance and in law’s superiority to politics. Using a classic Aristotelian framework, I argue that legalism lacks persuasiveness; it makes a weak appeal to the Prosecutor’s reputation, has a limited appeal in eliciting emotional support, and, is not a sufficiently logical explanation of the Court’s independence. In summary, legalism is a weak tactic of legitimation and a well-worn progress narrative. The article’s analysis has implications for other international institutions and the rhetoric they adopt to legitimate their independence. More specifically, the article concludes with recommendations that can help the Office reflect on its rhetoric and thus, develop a meaningful dialogue to those comm unities that are the Court’s raison d’être.

© Foundation of the Leiden Journal of International Law 2018 

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PhD Candidate and Lecturer in Law, University of Northumbria Law School, Newcastle Upon-Tyne, United Kingdom []. I am grateful to Luke Moffett, Alison Bisset and Veronika Bílková for their advice on a very early and now unrecognizable draft of this article. My thanks to David McGrogan for his comments on a much later draft. I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their excellent and detailed suggestions for improvement. Most of all, I would like to sincerely thank Rebecca Moosavian for offering a rich reading list and for her invaluable input that helped to considerably develop this final version. Needless to say, any errors or shortcomings are my own.


1 See the travaux préparatoires of the Rome Statute (ICC Statute): Summary records of the plenary meetings and of the meetings of the Committee of the Whole UN Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court (Rome, 15 June–17 July 1998), UN Doc. A/CONF.183/13 (Vol. II). For example, the Iraqi Delegate remarked: ‘the Statute of the International Criminal Court should contain clear principles that [confirm] its neutrality and objectivity, its independent role and freedom from the political influences of States and international organisations’, at 116, para. 33.

2 Ibid., para. 41, at 67.

3 Ibid., para. 9, at 73.

4 Posner, E.A., The Perils of Global Legalism (2009), 21CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

5 See below.

6 ‘Office’ hereafter.

7 There are open investigations in Burundi, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, two in the Central African Republic, Sudan (Darfur), Libya, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali. At the time of writing, the only investigation beyond the African continent is in Georgia. On 20 November 2017 the Prosecutor requested authorization from the Court to initiate an investigation into crimes committed in Afghanistan. For a current list see ICC ‘Situations under Investigation’, available at

8 Five of these convictions were on the obstruction of the administration of justice and tampering with witness evidence. See The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, Aimé Kilolo Musamba, Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, Fidèle Babala Wandu and Narcisse Arido, Judgment Pursuant to Article 74 of the Statute, ICC-01/05-01/13-1989-Red, 19 October 2016). The remaining ‘core’ convictions are those of Thomas Lubanga in The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga, Judgment Pursuant to Article 74 of the Statute, ICC-01/04-01/06, 14 March 2012; Germain Katanga in The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga, Judgment Pursuant to Article 74 of the Statute ICC-01/04-01/07-3436, 7 March 2014; and Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi in The Prosecutor v. Al Faqi Al Mahdi, Judgment and Sentence, ICC-01/12-01/15-171, 27 September 2016. The ICC Appeals Chamber recently overturned the conviction of Jean-Pierre Bemba for crimes against humanity and war crimes; see The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba, Judgment on the appeal of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo against Trial Chamber III ‘Judgment Pursuant to Article 74 of the Statute’, ICC 01-05-01-08 A, 8 June 2018.

9 The premise of ‘lawfare’ is the use of the Court to attach scrutiny and stigma to political adversaries. See Tiemessen, A., ‘The International Criminal Court and the Lawfare of Judicial Intervention’, (2015) 30 International Relations 490Google Scholar.

10 A notable example is the self-referral by the Ugandan Government for crimes committed by members of the Lord’s Resistance Army, including its leader Joseph Kony. The referral subsequently led to a perception that the Prosecutor was blind to atrocities committed by Ugandan Government forces. See Wegner, P.S., The International Criminal Court in Ongoing Intrastate Conflicts: Navigating the Peace-Justice Divide (2015), 187–97Google Scholar.

11 For an overview of the ‘politics’ of prosecution decisions see Tiemessen, A., ‘The International Criminal Court and the politics of prosecutions’, (2014) 18 International Journal of Human Rights 444CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

12 See, indicatively, Gaffey, C., ‘Uganda: Museveni Calls ICC “Useless”…’, Newsweek, 13 May 2016, available at Scholar; and generally Taylor, A., ‘Why so many African leaders hate the International Criminal Court’, The Washington Post, 15 June 2015 available at Scholar. For a discussion on how Kenyan leaders, in particular Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, campaigned against the ICC, see Nicholls, L., The International Criminal Court and the End of Impunity in Kenya (2015), 133–76Google Scholar.

13 Burundi’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute took effect on 27 October 2017. See UN Burundi: Withdrawal Reference: C.N.805.2016.TREATIES-XVIII.10 (Depositary Notification), available at The South African government, after a domestic legal challenge, retracted their intention to withdraw from the Rome Statute, but is currently considering alternative options. The President of Gambia has also restored the country’s commitment to the Rome Statute after the previous incumbent of the Presidency had labelled the Court racist and declared an intent to withdraw. See ‘South Africa Revokes ICC Withdrawal after Court ruling’, BBC News, 8 March 2017, available at; Saine, P. and Jahateh, L., ‘Gambia announces plans to stay in International Criminal Court’, Reuters, 13 February 2017, available at Scholar.

14 For the original draft AU strategy see ‘Withdrawal Strategy Document’ (Draft 2)’, HRW, 12 January 2017, available at See also E. Keppler, ‘AU’s ICC Withdrawal Strategy Less than Meets the Eye: Opposition to Withdrawal by States’, HRW, 1 February 2017, available at

15 See, indicatively, ‘Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, at a press conference in Uganda: justice will ultimately be dispensed for LRA crimes’, 27 February 2015, available at; and Bensouda, F., ‘Our Resolve to Create a More Just World Must Remain Firm’, ICTJ, 3 September 2015, available at Scholar.

16 International Criminal Court Strategic Plan 2013–2017 (interim update July 2015), at 6 (Judicial and Prosecutorial Goal 1.7); ‘Strategic Plan for Outreach of the International Criminal Court’, ICC-ASP/5/12, 29 September 2006, at 3.

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18 See, for example, Milanović, M., ‘The Impact of the ICTY on the Former Yugoslavia: An Anticipatory Post-Mortem’, (2016) 110 AJIL 233CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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20 A recent survey in Kenya of 507 randomly selected individuals found only 34.3 per cent agreed with the statement ‘The International Criminal Court, ICC, or The Hague is biased against Africa’. In particular victims – defined as those who suffered or observed violence – revealed 60 per cent disagreed with the statement that the Court is biased. See Alleblas, T. et al., ‘Is the International Criminal Court biased against Africans? Kenyan Victims don’t think so’, The Washington Post, 6 March 2017Google Scholar; Dutton, Y. et al., ‘Collective Identity, Memories of Violence and Belief in a Biased International Criminal Court: Evidence from Kenya’, 22 August 2017, available at Scholar.

21 See Soanes, C. and Stevenson, A. (eds.), Oxford Dictionary of English (2010), 1524. This accords with James Boyd White’s definition; the art of ‘establishing the probable by arguing from our sense of the probable’Google Scholar; White, J.B, ‘Law as Rhetoric, Rhetoric as Law: The Arts of Cultural and Communal Life’, (1985) 52 University of Chicago Law Review 684, at 687CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

22 See generally, Hoffman, M.F. and Ford, D.J., Organisational Rhetoric: Situations and Strategies (2010), 209–32Google Scholar.

23 The use of legalism is related to demonstrating the Office’s impartiality in its prosecution selections. Impartiality and independence are closely linked; the former denoting the equal and fair treatment of cases and the latter referring to freedom and the absence of external affiliation or interference. The lack of independence provides grounds to question the existence of impartiality, but the converse is true; the existence of impartiality supports a claim to independence. See Soanes and Stevenson, supra note 21, at 888; Côte, L., ‘Independence and Impartiality’, in Reydams, L. et al. (eds.), International Prosecutors (2012), 357–9Google Scholar; On legitimation see generally, Dickson, T., ‘Shklar’s Legalism and the Liberal Paradox’, (2015) 22(2) Constellations 188, at 196CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

24 Cipriani, R., ‘The Sociology of Legitimation: an Introduction’, (1987) 35(2) Current Sociology 1CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

25 See Fish, S., Doing What Comes Naturally: Change, Rhetoric, and the Practice of Theory in Literary and Legal Studies (1989)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Brooks, P. and Gewirtz, P. (eds.), Law’s Stories: Narrative and Rhetoric in the Law (1996)Google Scholar; Sarat, A. and Kearns, T.R. (eds.), The Rhetoric of Law (1996)Google Scholar; Wetlaufer, G., ‘Rhetoric and its Denial in Legal Discourse’, (1990) 76 Virginia Law Review 1545CrossRefGoogle Scholar

26 Sarat, A. (ed.), Rhetorical Processes and Legal Judgments: How Language and Arguments Shape Struggles for Rights and Powers (2016), 127CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

27 The dictionary defines ‘advocacy’ as ‘the public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy’. See Soanes and Stevenson, supra note 21, at 25.

28 See, for example, Rogers, D., ‘Prosecutors’ Opening Statements: The Rhetoric of Law, Politics and Silent War’, in Hayashi, N. and Bailliet, C.M. (eds.), The Legitimacy of International Criminal Tribunals (2017), 325–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Seymour, L.J.M, ‘The ICC and Africa: Rhetoric, Hypocrisy Management, and Legitimacy’, in Clarke, K.M., Knotterus, A.S. and de Volder, E. (eds.), Africa and the ICC: Perceptions of Justice (2016), 107–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Rodman, K.A., ‘Justice as a Dialogue Between Law and Politics: Embedding the International Criminal Court within Conflict Management and Peacebuilding’, (2014) 12 JICJ 437Google Scholar; Kendall, S. and Nouwen, S., ‘Representational Practices at the International Criminal Court: The Gap Between Juridified and Abstract Victimhood’, (2014) 76 Law and Contemporary Problems 235Google Scholar.

29 See, for example, de Hoon, M., ‘The Future of the International Criminal Court: On Critique, Legalism and Strengthening the ICC’s Legitimacy’, (2017) 17 International Criminal Law Review 591CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Czarnetsky, J.M. and Rychlak, R.J., ‘An Empire of Law: Legalism and the International Criminal Court’, (2003) 79(1) Notre Dame Law Review 55Google Scholar.

30 Goodrich, P., ‘Rhetoric as Jurisprudence: An Introduction to the Politics of Legal Language’, (1984) 4(1) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 88, at 95CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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32 Dainton, M. and Zelley, E.D, Applying Communication Theory for Professional Life: A Practical Introduction (2014), 103–4Google Scholar. See also Jowett, G.S. and Donnell, V.O., Propaganda and Persuasion (2014), 38–9Google Scholar.

33 Perelmen, C. and Olbrechts-Tyteca, L., The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation (1969), 19Google Scholar.

34 Damaska, M.R.What is the Point of International Criminal Justice’, (2008) 83 Chicago-Kent Law Review 329, at 347–9Google Scholar; deGuzman, M.M., ‘Choosing to Prosecute: Expressive Selection at the International Criminal Court’, (2012) 33(2) Michigan Journal of International Law 265Google Scholar.

35 See ICC Strategic Plans, supra note 16.

36 See Kendall and Nouwen, supra note 28, at 260.

37 Coe, K., ‘Rhetoric, Political’, in Mazzoleni, G. et al. (eds.), The International Encyclopaedia of Political Communication (2015), 1428Google Scholar.

38 See Meijers, T. and Glasius, M., ‘Trials as Messages of Justice: What should be expected of international criminal courts?’, (2016) 30 Ethics and International Affairs 429, at 432–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Drumbl, M., Atrocity, Punishment and International Law (2007), 173–9Google Scholar.

39 See Damaska, M.R., ‘What is the Point of International Criminal Justice?’, (2008) 83 Chicago-Kent Law Review 329, at 343Google Scholar; and Minow, M., True-Frost, C.C. and Whiting, A. (eds.), The First Global Prosecutor: Promise and Constraints (2015), 363CrossRefGoogle Scholar. The Office’s didactic function includes maximizing the impact of its activities (e.g., the preliminary examination, investigation and trial) as, in its own words, ‘mere announcement of ICC activities can have a preventive impact’. See ICC OTP ‘Paper on some policy issues before the Office of the Prosecutor’, September 2003, at 3; see OTP ‘Prosecutorial Strategy 2009-2012’, 1 February 2010, 7; see also ‘Fatou Bensouda Interview with Tim Sebastian’, DW Conflict Zone, 26 January 2016, available at; Bensouda, F., ‘Looking Back, Looking Ahead-Reflections from the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC’, (2012) 11 Washington University Global Studies Law Review 437Google Scholar.

40 This is captured by an alternative dictionary definition of rhetoric, noting that its persuasive effect implies a lack of sincerity. See Soanes and Stevenson, supra note 21, at 1524 and Goodrich, supra note 30, at 88.

41 Locke, J., An Essay Concerning Human Understanding Book Three (1824), 41Google Scholar.

42 Aristotle, The Art of Rhetoric (translated by Lawson-Tancred, H.C.) (1991), 74, para. 1355aGoogle Scholar.

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45 See Aristotle, supra note 42, at 74, para. 1355a. See also Fish, supra note 25, at 479.

46 Condor, S., Tileaga, C. and Billig, M., ‘Political Rhetoric’, in Huddy, L., O’Sears, D. and Levy, J.S. (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology (2013), 286Google Scholar.

47 This accounts for the contested definitions of rhetoric and its interchangeable use with terms such as ‘argument’, ‘discourse’ and ‘language’. For an overview of these diverse disciplinary perspectives see ibid.

48 See Atkins, J. and Finlayson, A., ‘“… A 40-Year Old Black Man Made the Point to Me”: Everyday Knowledge and the Performance of Leadership in Contemporary British Politics’, (2012) 61(1) Political Studies 161, at 162CrossRefGoogle Scholar, citing originally Finlayson, A., ‘Political science, political ideas and rhetoric’, (2004) 3(4) Economy and Society 528CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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50 See Aristotle, supra note 42, at 74, para. 1356a.

51 Ibid., para. 1356a.

52 See Bernays, E., Crystalling Public Opinion (1961), at iii–ivGoogle Scholar; ‘What is PR?’, Chartered Institute of Public Relations, available at

53 ICC, Integrated Strategy for External Relations, Public Information and Outreach, 18 April 2007, at 3. External Relations is the process that aims towards building and maintaining support and co-operation with the Court, and is the dialogue between the Court and states parties, non-states parties, international organizations, NGO’s and other key partners.

54 Ibid., at 5.

55 See ICC-ASP/8/Res.3, Strengthening the International Criminal Court and the Assembly of States Parties, at 5, paras. 33–4 and ICC-ASP/9/29, Report of the court on the public information strategy 2011–2013, at 2, para. 3.

56 See also IBA/ICC Monitoring and Outreach Program, ICC External Communications: Delivering Information and Fairness (June 2011); and Coalition for the International Criminal Court, ‘Key Principles for ICC Communications’, March 2015, available at

57 See OTP Policies and Strategies, ICC, available at; see also Coco, A. and Cross, M., ‘Foreword’, (2017) 15 JICJ (Special Issue: The International Criminal Court’s Policies and Strategies) 407, at 408Google Scholar.

58 This phrase is attributed to Marshall McLuhan and refers to how the precise medium of the message (rather than its content) has a social effect that produces its own message. See Mcluhan, M., Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964)Google Scholar.

59 Bitzer, L.F, ‘The Rhetorical Situation’, (1968) 1 Philosophy and Rhetoric 1Google Scholar.

60 This translates to ‘place or location’ but in the context of Aristotle’s treatise tends to refer to a strategy for argumentation. See Aristotle, supra note 42, at 183–214, paras. 1392a–403b.

61 Ibid., at 215–44, paras. 1404a–14a and more generally for a range of persuasive techniques see Farnsworth, W., Farnsworth’s Classical English Rhetoric (2010)Google Scholar.

62 Finlayson, A., ‘Proving, Pleasing, Persuading? Rhetoric in Contemporary British Politics’, (2014) 85(4) The Political Quarterly 428, at 432CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Aristotle also classified rhetoric into differing genres (the deliberative, the epideictic and the judicial).

63 See Coe, supra note 37, at 1432.

64 Kant, I., Critique of Pure Reason, in N. Kemp-Smith translation (1929), 645, paras. A820/B848Google Scholar.

65 Finlayson, A., ‘Rhetoric and the Political Theory of Ideologies’, (2012) 60(4) Political Studies 751, at 763CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See generally Finlayson, A., ‘Ideology and Political Rhetoric’, in Freeden, M. and Stears, M. (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies (2013)Google Scholar.

66 Moyn, S., ‘Judith Shklar on the Philosophy of International Criminal Law’, (2014) 14(4/5) International Criminal Law Review 717, at 717CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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68 This is associated with nullum crimen sine lege. See West, R., ‘Reconsidering Legalism’, (2003) 88 Minnesota Law Review 119, at 122Google Scholar; Cassese, A., ‘The Legitimacy of International Criminal Tribunals and the Current Prospects of International Criminal Justice’, (2012) 25(2) LJIL 491, at 492CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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70 See Shklar, supra note 67, at 35.

71 Ibid., at viii.

72 Ibid., at 111. For an alternative interpretation of ‘political’ see Nouwen, S. and Werner, W.G, ‘Doing Justice to the Political: The International Criminal Court in Uganda and Sudan’, (2011) 21(4) EJIL 941, at 945CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

73 Bankowski, Z., ‘Don’t think about it: Legalism and Legality’, (1993) 15 Rechtstheorie Beiheft 45, at 47Google Scholar.

74 The concept of interpretive community is originally attributed to the work of Stanley Fish. See Fish, supra note 25, at 141. See also d’Aspremont, J., ‘The Professionalization of International Law’, in d’Aspremont, J. et al. (eds.), International Law as a Profession (2017), 30CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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76 Koskenniemi, M., ‘The Politics of International Law–20 Years Later’, (2009) 20 EJIL 7, at 15–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

77 See Shklar, supra note 67, at 8–9.

78 ‘Understanding the International Criminal Court’, ICC, available at

79 ‘About The OTP’, ICC, available at

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81 See, for example, ‘The Determination of the Office of the Prosecutor on the communication received in relation to Egypt’, ICC, 8 May 2014, available at

82 Bensouda, F., ‘The Truth about ICC and Gaza’, The Guardian, 29 August 2014, available at Scholar; see OTP Interests of Justice Policy Paper, 1 September 2007.

83 The Preamble of the ICC Statute cites two main goals: ‘to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes and thus to contribute to the prevention of such crimes’. There are innumerable examples of rhetoric that refer to the ICC Statute and/or the Preamble; see Bensouda, F., ‘Local Prosecution of International Crimes: Challenges and Prospects’, 4 November 2014, Opening Remarks 7th Colloquium of International Prosecutor(s), ICC, available at Scholar; ‘The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, opens a preliminary examination of the situation in Palestine’, 16 January 2015, ICC Press Release, available at

84 See the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1155 UNTS 331, Arts. 31(1) and 31(2) (General Rule of Interpretation).

85 International Peace Institute interview with L. Moreno-Ocampo: ‘I follow evidence, not politics’, 20 January 2012, available at Current Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has expressed similar sentiment stating: ‘We are a new tool, a judicial tool, not a tool in the hands of politicians who think they can decide when to plug or unplug us’. See Smith, D., ‘New Chief Prosecutor Defends International Criminal Court’, The Guardian, 23 May 2012Google Scholar.

86 See Shklar, supra note 67, at 122.

87 Simpson, G., Law, War and Crime: War Crimes Trials and the Reinvention of International Law (2007), 1920Google Scholar.

88 Moreno Ocampo, L., ‘Building a Future on Peace and Justice: The International Criminal Court’, in Ambos, K., Large, J. and Wierda, M. (eds.), Building a Future on Peace and Justice: Studies on Transitional Justice, Peace and Development - The Nuremberg Declaration on Peace and Justice (2009), 13Google Scholar.

89 A type of metonym, i.e., a figure of speech where a concept, place or thing is replaced by something closely associated to it, e.g., ‘The Hague’ can be used to refer to the International Criminal Court. A synecdoche is specifically where a part is used to refer to the whole, or the whole refers to one of its parts. For example, ‘bread’ can be used to represent food in general as in the expression ‘breadwinner’ or, by contrast, one can refer to a whole nation when specifically referring to its football team.

90 Bensouda, F., ‘The investigation and prosecution of sexual and gender-based crimes: reflections from the Office of the Prosecutor’, at The Hague Academy of International Law Advanced Course on International Criminal Law Special Focus: Gender Justice, 24 August 2015, available at Scholar.

91 ‘In Africa, for instance, there have been close to 20 presidential elections in 2012 or 2013. Most of them have gone relatively peacefully. I am not giving credit to the ICC for that. History will judge that, but the ICC has a role to play … I firmly believe the world is a better place for having the ICC as an institution. I just want us to ask this question: What would the world be like without an ICC?’, Bensouda, F., ‘We Should at all Costs Prevent the ICC from being Politicised’ (2014) 62(1) Vereinte Nationen – German Review on the United Nations, available at Scholar.

92 Bensouda, F., ‘Reflections from the International Criminal Court Prosecutor’, (2012) 45 Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 955, at 956Google Scholar.

93 F. Bensouda, Remarks to the 25th Diplomatic Briefing, 26 March 2015, at 5.

94 See Bensouda, supra note 92, at 959.

95 See, for example, F. Bensouda, Address at the First Plenary, ‘Fifteenth Session of the Assembly of States Parties’, 16 November 2016, at 9; see also Bensouda Munich Speech, supra note 80.

96 Austin, J., The Province of Jurisprudence Determined (1832)Google Scholar.

97 See Shklar, supra note 67, at 131.

98 My emphasis. See L. Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, ‘Keynote Address’, Council on Foreign Relations, ICC, 4 February 2010, available at

99 See, for example, Bensouda, F., ‘Opening Remarks: Launch of the ICC Office of the Prosecutor’s Policy Paper on Sexual Violence and Gender-Based Crimes’, ICC, 7 November 2014, available at Scholar; Bensouda, F., ‘Our Resolve to Create a More Just World Must Remain Firm’, ICTJ, 3 September 2015, available at Scholar.

100 Bensouda, F., ‘Africa and the ICC: A Decade on. Africa and the International Criminal Court: Lessons Learned and Synergies Ahead’, Africa Legal Aid, 9–10 September 2014, at 3, available at Scholar.

101 OTP Policy Paper on Interests of Justice, 1 September 2007, at 4.

102 Ibid.

103 F. Bensouda, Diplomatic Briefing in The Hague, 9 October 2017, at 15.

104 See Bensouda, supra note 95, at 8.

105 Key messages are an essential part of an organization’s public relations and regularly promoting them is part of running effective media and PR campaigns. This is a fundamental principle found in communications, marketing, public relations, and media studies literature as well as practical training materials. See Gordon, A.E., Public Relations (2011) 6–25Google Scholar; Caroll, C.E et al., ‘Key messages and message integrity as concepts and metrics in communication evaluation’ (2014) 14 Journal of Communication Management 386, at 389CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

106 See Integrated Strategy, supra note 53, at 4–5.

107 See Aristotle, supra note 42, at 74, para. 1356a. The Greek origin of the word ‘ethos’ means ‘nature or disposition’. See Soanes and Stevenson, supra note 21, at 601.

108 See Aristotle, supra note 42, at 74, para. 1356a.

109 Burke, M., ‘Rhetoric and Poetics: The Classical Heritage of Stylistics’, in Burke, M. (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Stylistics (2014), 2430Google Scholar.

110 See Aristotle, supra note 42, at 141, para. 1378a; Weber, M., ‘Politics as a Vocation’ in Gerth, H.H. and Wright Mills, C. (eds.), From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology (1995), 79Google Scholar.

111 Ibid.

112 McEvoy, K., ‘Beyond Legalism: Towards a Thicker Understanding of Transitional Justice’, (2008) Journal of Law & Society 411, at 414–16Google Scholar.

113 Ibid., at 416–17; see also Shklar, J., ‘In Defense of Legalism’, (1966) 19 Journal of Legal Education 51, at 58Google Scholar.

114 Hoffmann, F., ‘Facing the Abyss: International Law Before the Political’, in Goldoni, M. and McCorkindale, C. (eds.), Hannah Arendt and the Law (2012), at 180Google Scholar.

115 The Office’s respect for this rule is imperative after previous challenges from defence counsel and cautions from the Chambers about the Prosecutor’s public comments. These challenges, amongst other things, have alleged the Prosecutor’s public statements, including press releases, have displayed bias that is prejudicial to the fair trial of the accused. See, for example, The Prosecutor v. Callixte Mbaruishmana, Defence Request for an Order to Preserve the Impartiality of Proceedings, ICC-01/04/01/10-14, 9 November 2010; The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, Decision on the press interview with Ms Le Fraper du Hellen, ICC-01/04-01/06-2433, 12 May 2010, at 19–20.

116 E.g., to ‘submit captive enemies to the judgement of the law’. See R. Jackson, Opening Statement, Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Volume 2 (Wednesday, 21 November 1945), Yale Law School, available at

117 Progress narratives depict a linear line of incremental development, moving from an abstract, politicized collection of principles to a formal, organized and legitimated framework based on law. See Vartan Armenian, A., ‘Selectivity in International Criminal Law’, (2016) 16 ICLR 1, at 2Google Scholar; Windsor, M., ‘Narrative Kill or Capture: Unreliable Narration in International Law’, (2015) 28 LJIL 743, at 748–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

118 See Czarnetsky and Rychlak, supra note 29, at 62.

119 See Simpson, supra note 87, at 30.

120 Clark, P., ‘Distant Justice: The Politics of the International Criminal Court in Africa’, University of Oxford, 27 October 2014, available at Scholar.

121 See generally McEvoy, K. and Rebouche, R., ‘Mobilising the Professions? Lawyers, Politics and the Collective Legal Conscience’, in Morrison, J., McEvoy, K. and Anthony, G. (eds.), Judges, Transition and Human Rights (2007), 284Google Scholar.

122 The literature on cause-lawyering is considerable, however, for a concise overview see McEvoy, K., ‘What Did the Lawyers Do During the “War”? Neutrality, Conflict and the Culture of Quietism’, (2011) 74(3) MLR 350, at 354CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

123 For example, see the many references to victims in Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, before the UNSC on the Situation in Darfur, pursuant to UNSC Resolution 1593 (2005), 13 December 2016.

124 Pathos is a quality that tends to evoke a particular emotional disposition and is most often associated with sadness or sympathy. See Soanes and Stevenson, supra note 21, at 1302.

125 See Aristotle, supra note 42, at 74, para. 1356a.

126 Ibid., at 139–71, paras. 1378b–88b.

127 See Scobbie, supra note 44, at 69–71. See also Locke, J., An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1997), 105Google Scholar.

128 Lupu, Y., ‘International Judicial Legitimacy: Lessons from National Courts’, (2013) 14 Theoretical Inquiries in Law 437, at 440–1CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Baird, V.A., ‘Building Institutional Legitimacy: The Role of Procedural Justice’, (2001) 54 Political Research Quarterly 333, at 339Google Scholar.

129 See Weber, supra note 110, at 79.

130 There is considerable literature on perceived legitimacy. Most definitions associate the concept with sociological (or Weberian) legitimacy. See Vasilev, S., ‘Between International Criminal Justice and Injustice: Theorising Legitimacy’, in Hayashi, N. and Bailliet, C.M. (eds.), The Legitimacy of International Criminal Tribunals (2017)Google Scholar; Takemura, H., ‘Reconsidering the Meaning and Actuality of the Legitimacy of the International Criminal Court’, (2012) 4(2) Amsterdam Law Forum 4Google Scholar.

131 See Jowett, G.S. and O’Donnell, V., Propaganda and Persuasion (2014), 39Google Scholar.

132 See Milanović, supra note 18; Clark, supra note 17, at 58–83.

133 Clements, C.S., ‘Perception and Persuasion in Legal Argumentation: Using Informal Infallacies and Cognitive Biases to Win the War of Words’, (2013) Brigham Young University Law Review 319, at 330–1Google Scholar.

134 See Vasilev, supra note 130, at 77–81.

135 See Perelmen and Olbrechts-Tyteca, supra note 33, at 19.

136 See Scobbie, supra note 44, at 69–71.

137 See Aristotle, supra note 42, at 156, para. 1383a.

138 This is consistent with the dictionary definition of confidence: See Soanes and Stevenson, supra note 21, at 365.

139 See Shklar, supra note 67, at 117–19.

140 See McEvoy, supra note 112, at 426.

141 Pirie, F. and Scheele, J., Legalism: Community and Justice (2014), 14Google Scholar.

142 Clarke, K.M, ‘“We ask for justice, you give us law”: The rule of law, economic markets and the reconfiguration of victimhood’, in De Vos, C., Kendall, S. and Stahn, C. (eds.), Contested Justice: The Politics and Practice of International Criminal Court Interventions (2015), 272CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

143 Goodrich, P., ‘Jani anglorum, Signs, Symptoms, Slips and Interpretation in Law’, in Douzinas, C., Goodrich, P. and Hachamovitch, Y. (eds.), Politics, Postmodernity and Critical Legal Studies (2004), 127Google Scholar.

144 Moyn, S., ‘Judith Shklar versus the International Criminal Court’, (2013) 4(3) Humanity 473, at 494CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

145 The figurative meaning of an echo-chamber refers to environments where the views of a narrow set of persons are amplified and reinforced but, by implication, exclude or are less receptive to those persons with opposing views.

146 The Greek origin of the term logos is ‘word, reason’. Logos is also the origin of the word logic. See Soanes and Stevenson, supra note 21, at 1040.

147 See Aristotle, supra note 42, at 76–8, paras. 1357a–8a.

148 Ibid., at 75–7, paras. 1356b–7b.

149 Deductive reasoning is based on drawing logical inferences from a general rule that can then form the basis for specific conclusions.

150 This example is common in discussions on Aristotle and deduction, see, for example, Meyer, M., ‘Aristotle’s Rhetoric’, (2012) 31(2) Topoi 249, at 251CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

151 See Aristotle, supra note 42, at 77–8, para. 1357b.

152 Ibid.

153 See Simpson, supra note 87, at 23.

154 Koskenniemi, M., ‘The Politics of International Law’, (1990) 1(1) EJIL 4, at 8CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

155 Carr, E.H., The Twenty Years’ Crisis 1919-1939: An Introduction to the Study of International Relations (1946), 178–9Google Scholar.

156 Ibid.

157 Koskenniemi, M., The Fate of Public International Law: Between Technique and Politics, (2007) 70 (1) MLR 1, at 18–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

158 See Shklar, supra note 67, at 144.

159 See Pirie and Scheele, supra note 141, at 140–1.

160 ICC Statute Arts. 13(b), 14 and 15.

161 In reality the OTP resorts to making judgements about the relative gravity of a situation to justify either proceeding or declining to proceed. This use exposes the concept as vague and subjective and can readily mask political considerations. See Schabas, W.A., Unimaginable Atrocities: Justice, Politics and Rights at the War Crimes Tribunals (2012), 86Google Scholar; see generally, DeGuzman, M.M., ‘Gravity and the Legitimacy of the International Criminal Court’, (2008) 32 Fordham International Law Journal 1400Google Scholar.

162 See ICC Statute Art. 17(2)(a–c).

163 Ibid., Arts. 53(1)(c) and 53(2)(c).

164 See OTP Interests of Justice Policy Paper, 1 September 2007, at 4. The consideration of political and social context is now explicitly incorporated (e.g., the Prosecutor is expected to assess whether a selected case impacts the occurrence of on-going or future crimes). See Policy Paper on Case Selection and Prioritisation, 15 September 2016, at 16.

165 Situation in the Republic of Cote d’ Ivoire, Request for authorisation of an investigation pursuant to article 15, 23 June 2011, paras. 45–6; and generally, Goldstone, R.J., For Humanity: Reflections of a war crimes investigator (2000), 105–6Google Scholar.

166 See OTP Policy Paper on Case Selection and Prioritisation, 15 September 2016, at 6, para. 12.

167 UNSC Report of the Secretary General, ‘The Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies’, 23 August 2004, UN Doc. S/2004/616*, at 15.

168 Cerar, M., ‘The Relationship between Law and Politics’, (2009) 15(1) Annual Survey of International & Comparative Law 19, at 20–1Google Scholar.

169 See Shklar, supra note 67, at 35.

170 Koskenniemi, M., ‘What is International Law For?’, in Evans, M. (ed.), International Law (2014), 48Google Scholar.

171 Ibid.

172 Brammertz, S., ‘Address of Mr. Serge Brammertz, Prosecutor, Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals and International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to the United Nations Security Council’, United Nations, 7 March 2017, available at Scholar.

173 For a recent discussion on ‘post-truth’, see D’Ancona, M., Post Truth: The New War on Truth and How to Fight Back (2017), 2334Google Scholar.

174 Kant, I., The Critique of Judgement (translated by Meredith, J.C.) (1911), at 327Google Scholar.

175 See Pirie and Scheele, supra note 141, at 131.

176 See White, supra note 21, at 701.

177 See D’Ancona, supra note 173, at 130–1.