In 1998 more than 100 nations came together to form the International Criminal Court, the first permanent court created to prosecute perpetrators (no matter their positions) of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. The Reckoning follows prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo as he issues arrest warrants for the rebel leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, puts four Congolese warlords on trial in The Hague, charges the president of Sudan with genocide and war crimes in Darfur, challenges the UN Security Council to have him arrested, and shakes up the Colombian criminal justice system. Whether you are interested in human rights, international law, or would just like to see how the ICC works, check out The Reckoning from the law library.
Jen Trahan blogged recently on Opinio Juris that three statements made by the former U.S. Department of State Legal Advisor Harold Koh, prior to leaving office in December, 2012, could signal a return to signatory status for the United States with respect to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. At separate appearances at NYU, the University of Leiden, and the New York City Bar Association, Koh clearly stated that the U.S. respected the “object and purpose” of the treaty. Under normal circumstances this would place the United States in conformance with article 18 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties on the obligations of treaty signatories. Whether Koh’s oral statements would trump the written note sent by John Bolton to the UN in 2002, withdrawing U.S. intent to become a party, is still in question.
Fatou Bensouda was recently sworn in as the new Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court in the Hague replacing Luis Moreno-Ocampo. Bensouda is a native of The Gambia and formerly served as its Solicitor General and Minister of Justice. She graduated from law school in Nigeria and holds a Masters of Laws from the International Maritime Institute in Malta. Read a recent interview with the new Prosecutor.
Sean Murphy, professor of law at George Washington University Law School, was recently elected to serve a five-year term on the United Nations International Law Commission. Prof. Murphy is a co-author, with Prof. Kidane of Seattle University Law School and Tom Snider of Wilmer Hale (Washington, D.C.), of an upcoming book on the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission for Oxford University Press. In other news Fatou Bensouda of The Gambia, was appointed to succeed Luis Moreno-Ocampo as chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court. She will assume her new post in June of 2012.
The Financial Times recently reported on upcoming job openings at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. A number of judgeships will become available when one-third of the positions at the court turn over at the end of 2012. Apparently nominations to the bench are falling short especially for candidates from Latin America. Read the story here.
A recent statement by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is giving proponents of U.S. membership in the ICC more hope that the United States may alter its position on resigning the Treaty of Rome. Speaking in Nairobi, Kenya, Secretary Clinton expressed “regret” that America was not part of the court. The road to the ICC for the United States would present some significant challenges not the least of which would be the American Service Members Protection Act which forbids U.S. cooperation with the court. Despite that fact, the Obama administration has already signaled its willingness to send representatives to the International Criminal Court review conference which is scheduled for next year. Read Fareed Zakaria’s interview.