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The Powers and Role of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Global Fight against Impunity


On 16 June 2003, the first Prosecutor of the newly established International Criminal Court (Court), Luis Moreno Ocampo, was inaugurated. He faces enormous challenges ahead in the short term, including the need to increase the number of states ratifying and implementing the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and to demonstrate that criticisms of the Court and his powers made by the current administration of the United States of America in the course of its campaign to undermine the Court are unwarranted. This article describes the background to the establishment of a permanent independent Prosecutor within the Court, able to open, subject to extensive statutory and judicial constraints, investigations on the Prosecutor's own initiative. It then describes the statutory provisions establishing the post and defining the powers and duties of the Prosecutor. The article concludes with a discussion of the imaginative way in which he is setting up the Office of the Prosecutor and his innovative overall strategy as a leader in the global fight against impunity. As the Prosecutor demonstrates his independence, impartiality, fairness, and effectiveness in conducting trials, and his ability to inspire states to fulfil their obligations to complement his efforts by investigating and prosecuting these crimes themselves, the long-term prospects for the Court will become increasingly promising.

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Leiden Journal of International Law
  • ISSN: 0922-1565
  • EISSN: 1478-9698
  • URL: /core/journals/leiden-journal-of-international-law
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