Sometimes, we are stirred by a cause, we are affected, drawn in, consumed with passion, fired up by something that has reached deep within to get our attention.
It’s invigorating when this happens, we feel alive, Joie de vivre so to speak, this is what it’s all about.
But as a legal professional, when do we know we are crossing the line from being stirred up by a cause, to being more than consumed by a case. Whatever the case may be, no matter what our personal feeling may be, ultimately, as a paragon of the law, it is our responsibility always to be able to remove our personal feelings, passions and employ logic and reason, case by case.
It is not for us to take a firm like or dislike to client or case, it is our role as either defence or prosecution to employ the facts, first and foremost. The human interest is always relevant of course, but that is for the Judge and the Jury to be consumed with after the facts, the facts as they stand are our job to present, to find, to decide even.
As an avid spectator of politics and international law, of late I have taken some time during my vacation to take a good look at what has been happening over at The Hague and follow the ups and downs of International Criminal Court. To be honest, it has always been an area of personal interest to me, a fascination with Europe for one and the consideration of diversification at some stage in later years that some might call retirement.
What has become painfully obvious from my personal point of view, is the fact that the success rate of The International Criminal Court (ICC), is anything but successful, in part due to the fact that first and foremost it’s Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda seems to have forgotten his very key principle.
IT’S NOT PERSONAL.
To uphold the law, we need to have a sense of detachment, an ability to look at cold hard logic, fact, evidence, all of which seem to be in short supply in what I have seen of the cases tried so far at The ICC.
In her tireless persual of the same caseload handed down to her from the former Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo, her inability to pick and choose which of these she will pursue and in what manner, she has failed to make any mark of her own, any decisions of her own, instead she has carried through an already questionable bias towards the Heads of State of the African continent of which there are many schools of thought as to the reasons for this.
There are many rumors’ of Luis Moreno Ocampo having particular obsessions, hi own list of targets, recent events bring to my attention of these on the list Uhuru Kenyatta and highest priority of all Omar Al Bashir.
Now I would hope, in my capacity as a legal professional, that Fatou Bensouda, being also a legal professional will not look at her case load in terms of targets needing to be ticked off to receive a great appraisal from then person who brought her on-board. The Daddy Complex, needing approval, winning his affection by delivering what she perceives to be his greatest wish.
Fatou Bensouda, you are a legal professional, Chief Prosecutor of one of the highest legal courts on the globe. It is your responsibility to set the standard of conduct befitting of such an esteemed role. In this vein, it is your responsibility to be above vendettas and personal scores wit defendants.
Gather your evidence, state your case, the rest is not up to you. There will always be mixed feelings about the level of courting of the Media the role of Chief Prosecution at the ICC seems to enable. This in itself to a degree in the United Stated would be deemed questionable. Trial by media, by propaganda, is not acceptable of a court as highly esteemed as yours.
You are not Judge, you are not jury, and you are Chief Prosecutor. Neither are you Te Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland shouting ‘off with their heads’ with little thought about the logistics, practicality or feasibility.
To continually see you on the news broadcasts calling for arrest of a defendant you have gone on public record to sate you cannot currently investigate is wacky to say the least. This is not the legal term that’s my personal opinion, the legal term would imply that this is questionably not legally appropriate and should I raise it on this forum, is sure to be one that is thrown up a lot, but is certainly something you ought to consider.
The law affords you other measures to deal with cases, to remove them, to investigate them, to defer them, something, anything, than to blow hot and cold in such a fashion as you thus so far have with regards to Al Bashir for one is beneath the highly esteemed position you hold.
I understand the nature of the causes and cases you uphold. I feel the passion this area must evoke. However, you are a symbol of law and order, you are the Chief Prosecutor, you must make your own decisions, forge your own mark. Most of all you must remember in all dealings, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Sudan, wherever. Sometime’s, if it’s not going anywhere, we have to let it go.
It’s law, its justice, IT’S NOT PERSONAL.