Luis Moreno Ocampo, former ICC prosecutor, discusses pursuit of justice in Libya

Luis Moreno Ocampo, the first prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), visited NYU Law on March 12 at the invitation of the Latino Law Students Association to speak about the ICC’s pursuit of justice in Libya.

Luis Moreno OcampoMoreno Ocampo, who served as the ICC prosecutor from 2003 to 2012, began with a procedural introduction to the court’s engagement with alleged crimes in Libya. In response to the Libyan civil war, the United Nations Security Council referred the situation to the ICC in 2011. Moreno Ocampo ultimately obtained arrest warrants for Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Gaddafi’s son, and Libya’s intelligence head—only the second time an ICC arrest warrant for a current head of state has been issued.

After highlighting some of the diplomatic factors that motivated the referral resolution, Moreno Ocampo discussed the intersection of law and politics, and law and strategy.  He also noted cultural contrasts between the ways diplomats think about problems, and the work of the ICC and how the court as an institution views similar issues. While diplomats emphasize negotiations and the preservation of a broad set of options, Moreno Ocampo explained, the ICC has a judicial and legal logic all its own. He also discussed the impact of the Arab Spring on the development of legal rules prohibiting the use of force against civilians, and how to better institutionalize some of the methods that have led to successful ICC actions in the past.

As ICC prosecutor, Moreno Ocampo pursued investigations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, the Central African Republic, the Darfur region of Sudan, Kenya, Ivory Coast, and Mali. Before joining the ICC, he was a prosecutor in Argentina, including for the Federal Criminal Court of Buenos Aires. Moreno Ocampo played a key role in prosecuting military personnel charged with human rights abuses occurring when Argentina was under dictatorial rule.

Posted on March 27, 2013