Over the past weeks, criticism has been raised regarding the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, the Argentinean Luis Moreno-Ocampo. This criticism has not only involved his handling of the complaint against him for his dismissal of a media adviser, who made a complaint against Moreno-Ocampo of sexual misconduct with a South African female journalist. (The complaint was denied by Moreno-Ocampo as well as the woman involved, and eventually dismissed by the Court as “manifestly unfounded”; nevertheless, the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization awarded the media adviser two years’ salary for compensation for wrongful dismissal as well as moral damages.) But Moreno-Ocampo has also been under attack because of his request made on July 14 for an arrest warrant to be issued against Sudan’s president Omar Al-Bashir (we reported earlier). The decision was a historic step, for the first time a serving head of state was tried to be held responsible for alleged war crimes and genocide. But some say the prosecutor made a political statement rather than one based on actual evidence. His choice to accuse Al-Bashir of committing genocide, instead of more easier to prosecute crimes such as crimes against humanity, has been questioned. Also, the prosecutor is said to hinder the fragile peace process in Sudan by seeking an arrest warrant for the President of the country. This, of course, once again raises the question of whether or not international peace and international justice, the desire to promote peace and the fight against impunity, can go hand in hand.
This debate regarding Moreno-Ocampo is, however, unlikely to lead to his removal. The possibility to remove the prosecutor from office is governed by Art. 46 Rome Statute. According to this provision the removal may only be decided where the prosecutor
(a) Is found to have committed serious misconduct or a serious breach of his or her duties under this Statute, as provided for in the Rules of Procedure and Evidence; or
(b) Is unable to exercise the functions required by this Statute.
Moreover, the decision requires an absolute majority of the States Parties to the Rome Statute. In other words, a removal is highly unlikely.