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The International Criminal Court ten years on: An appraisal

  •  Speaker: Luis Moreno-Ocampo
  • Chair: Professor Gerry Simpson
  • Tuesday 7 October 2008


The Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was adopted in Rome on 17 July 1998 by 120 States. The first prosecutor of the ICC, Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, took office on 21 April 2003. His mandate is to investigate and prosecute the most serious crimes, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The Prosecutor has decided to open investigations in four situations (the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Northern Uganda; Darfur, the Sudan; and the Central African Republic). The situation in Darfur, the Sudan, was referred by the United Nations Security Council. "The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) is also analysing situations on three continents including in countries such as Colombia and Afghanistan.

At the request of the OTP the Judges have issued arrest warrants against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo for the war crime of enlisting child soldiers in Ituri; Germain Katanga and Matthew Ngudjolo for attacking civilians and "wiping out" the village of Bogoro, in the DRC; Joseph Kony and senior leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army for abducting children and transforming them into sexual slaves and killers; Ahmad Harun and Ali Kushayb for attacking civilians in villages in Darfur; Jean-Pierre Bemba for a campaign of rape and pillaging in the Central African Republic. On 14 July 2008, the Prosecutor has requested an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Al Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

In this lecture, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo reflects on five years of activities of his Office. "My mandate is justice, justice for the victims. Each of our cases is a message to victims of crimes worldwide, that perpetrators will be held accountable. Impunity is no longer an option; this is the new law under the Rome Statute. My limit is the evidence".


Luis Moreno-Ocampo was elected as the first Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on 21 April 2003. In 1985 Dr. Moreno-Ocampo was the deputy prosecutor in the "military juntas trial" in his home country, Argentina, the first case against top commanders responsible for mass atrocities since the Nuremberg trials. His mandate today is to investigate and prosecute the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. He has currently opened investigations into the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Darfur (the Sudan) and the Central African Republic. An independent and determined Prosecutor, Dr. Moreno-Ocampo has in the course of his career indicted presidents, ministers, top military commanders and militia leaders, alike.

Gerry Simpson is Professor in Public International Law, LSE.

Video, podcast and text

A video of the event can be watched at LSE Live.

An audio recording of this event is available to download as:  mp3 (19 mb; approx 83 minutes)

The text of the Prosecutor's lecture is available here (PDF).