The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

The Accused

May 16, 2009

The latest Human Rights and Human Welfare roundtable is online at University of Denver’s Korbel School website. This month, I and several other human rights scholars debate the value of Julie Flint and Alex de Waal’s recent article condemning the International Criminal Court and, in particular, its Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo.

My two cents:

“Let us assume that Moreno-Ocampo erred, as has been ably described, in failing to launch a full-scale investigation of the atrocities in Darfur. But why single out Darfur as uniquely deserving such an investigation?…

Let us assume that the indictment of President Omar Bashir and Joseph Kony by the court are, as Flint and de Waal say, toothless acts that only undermine peace processes on the continent. At worst, are the authors not accusing the ICC simply of upholding its mandate to prosecute the law?…

Let us assume that Flint and de Waal have accurately depicted the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC as a hopelessly abrasive, procedurally obtuse, and personally corrupt individual whose behavior has undermined morale at the ICC. Must it therefore follow that his conduct has damaged the ICC’s legitimacy beyond repair?

I doubt it, and explain why here.

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Charli Carpenter is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is the author of 'Innocent Women and Children': Gender, Norms and the Protection of Civilians (Ashgate, 2006), Forgetting Children Born of War: Setting the Human Rights
Agenda in Bosnia and Beyond (Columbia, 2010), and ‘Lost’ Causes: Agenda-Setting in Global Issue Networks and the Shaping of Human Security (Cornell, 2014). Her main research interests include national security ethics, the protection of civilians, the laws of war, global agenda-setting, gender and political violence, humanitarian affairs, the role of information technology in human security, and the gap between intentions and outcomes among advocates of human security.