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Countries try to ignore war crimes

In Copenhagen lecture, top prosecutor discussed how heinous crimes go unacknowledged

The study of law and international relations should be one and the same thing. This is according to the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

»We need a merger of law and international relations. And I hope that the University of Copenhagen will be a great place to start,« he said Monday at a lecture at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen.

Moreno-Ocampo is the first prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, the world’s highest office of criminal justice.

Like battered women

At the lecture he spoke about the situation of International Justice in war-torn areas like Darfur and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Most countries have a ‘battered women’ approach to the most heinous cases of genocide in these and other countries. Like battered women, they sincerely believe that if they ignore the violence and do not acknowledge it, the issues will resolve themselves.

»We need to develop newer strategies to avoid the battered women approach,« he said.

Going for the top evil-doers

Moreno-Ocampo proffered insights into the inner workings of the ICC at the lecture. To protect witnesses it conducts investigations discreetly, and uses records from the UN Commission of Enquiry and the minutes recorded during meetings with local leaders, political leaders and the Intelligence.

The ICC strategy is to get the top criminals. By keeping quiet about their prosecutions they can move on the most important perpetrators.

»The legal system is not about having prisoners. We are prosecuting a few chosen cases with an aim to prevent further crimes«, said Mr Moreno-Ocampo in reply to a comment from the auditorium that queried the efficiency of the ICC.

Role for new generation

The new generation can open avenues to a swifter justice, he argued.

Students have an important role to play in the judicial system because of their radical thinking, he stressed.

According to Mr Moreno-Ocampo, what is required today is a better link between the fundamental rules of the judicial system of the bygone era and the new tools and innovative thinking style of the present generation.

Denmark can help in Kenya

Mr Moreno-Ocampo pointed to the fundamental role Denmark might play in the deliverance of justice in Africa.

Denmark has recently ratified the Rome treaty and supports the ICC whenever it decides to act. Mr Moreno-Ocampo suggested that Denmark should also link her developmental programs in Kenya with the Kenyan judicial system.

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