Journal Article

The International Criminal Court in Côte d’Ivoire

Sophie T. Rosenberg

in Journal of International Criminal Justice

Volume 15, issue 3, pages 471-490
Published in print July 2017 | ISSN: 1478-1387
Published online August 2017 | e-ISSN: 1478-1395 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jicj/mqx030
The International Criminal Court in Côte d’Ivoire

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  • Criminal Law
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Abstract

The trial of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo at the International Criminal Court (ICC) has provoked major controversy in Côte d’Ivoire and the wider Ivorian diaspora. While both pro-Gbagbo and pro-Ouattara sides reportedly committed abuses during the 2010–2011 crisis, the ICC Prosecutor pursued a sequenced prosecutorial strategy. Critics deplore the alleged lack of perceived impartiality in this approach. This article provides a critical assessment of this strategy and offers a novel theoretical framework to glean new findings around the norm of prosecutorial impartiality. First, the controversy around the Prosecutor’s strategy arguably reveals a tension between a ‘legalist’ and a ‘political’ vision of impartiality. While the Prosecutor’s strategy is in accordance with the legalist vision, its actions are criticized based on the political vision. The dispute between the Prosecutor and her critics thus reflects the tension between being impartial and being seen as impartial, or between the demands of procedural impartiality and political neutrality. Secondly, the Office of the Prosecutor’s (OTP) approach to the Côte d’Ivoire situation is arguably the product of a ‘tactical rapport’ between the OTP and the government, i.e. of the relationship between the tactics used by the OTP to operate as an effective prosecutorial body and the tactics used by national authorities to navigate the post-crisis transition.

Journal Article.  8684 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law ; International Law ; International Criminal Law ; International Humanitarian Law ; Transnational Crime

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