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The ‘Inherent Power’ of Judges: An Ethical Yardstick to Assess Prosecutorial Conduct at the ICC

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Although the Code of Conduct for the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that entered into force in 2013 unquestionably provided a more comprehensive set of ethical standards for all members of the Office (both staff members and elected officials), it does not fully meet the current needs to balance the powers and faculties of the Prosecutor in compliance with fair trial principles, the credibility of the Court and the sound administration of justice. Notwithstanding the adoption of the Code, a controversial prosecutorial action in the Bemba et al. case led to a request to disqualify the entire staff of the OTP. This paper takes the opportunity to remark on the ethical standards applicable to ICC prosecution lawyers and specifically the role of ICC judges as the ‘ultimate guardian of a fair and expeditious trial’ in outlining the criteria to assess the conduct, good standing and professionalism of the OTP.

Affiliations: 1: Researcher of International Law, Aggregate Professor of International Criminal Law, Department of Legal Sciences (School of Law), University of Salerno, Italy; Lecturer of International Law and EU Law, Faculty of Economic, Legal and Political Sciences, University of Cagliari, Italy


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