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ICC prosecutor tactics criticized by rights groups

JURIST] The president of Human Rights Watch [official website], mediation advisors, and other NGO leaders have recently begun to more openly criticize prosecutorial and other judgments [The Guardian report] made by International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile]. Moreno-Ocampo has already received sharp criticism from both the League of Arab States (LAS) and the African Union (AU) [official websites] for his decision to seek the arrest [JURIST report] of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile, JURIST news archive] for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. These international bodies assert that the indictment of a sitting head of state would set a dangerous and destabilizing precedent. New concerns reported Monday focus on Moreno-Ocampo's alleged employment misconduct and aggressive prosecutorial methods.  Critics reportedly believe the behavior could threaten the credibility of the court. Also Monday, al-Bashir appeared at an African economic conference held in Turkey [AP report], and some rights groups called on Turkey to support the ICC.

Earlier this month, Moreno-Ocampo criticized the Sudanese government's attempt to conduct its own probe [JURIST reports] into Darfur human rights violations. Sudan could potentially remove war crimes suspects like al-Bashir from the ICC's jurisdiction if its domestic courts employ safeguards to ensure accountability and respect for human rights, as outlined in Article 16 of the ICC's Rome Statute [PDF text]. The UN Security Council has repeatedly asked Sudan to comply with the investigation of al-Bashir [JURIST report], but Sudan has refused to do so, calling Moreno-Ocampo a "terrorist" [JURIST report] and suggesting that he should be removed from office. Before al-Bashir's indictment the Sudanese government had already rejected the ICC's jurisdiction and refused to surrender two previously-named war crimes suspects [JURIST report].

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