According to the website PhD studies in human rights, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is responding to the criticisms made against her predecessor Luis Moreno Ocampo and changing the way her office investigates international crimes under the ICC statute.
A fuller description of the new approach will probably appear soon on the ICC website, but some of the changes mentioned include:
- Ensuring cases are trial-ready earlier in the process rather than expecting, for example, that further evidence can be collected after confirmation of charges.
- Building from the bottom up i.e. starting by prosecuting lower level perpetrators and gradually building up to charging the persons bearing greatest responsibility.
- Less reliance on eye-witness testimony
- Consideration of alternative charges at an early stage of proceedings rather than focussing on one or two specific offences from the very beginning.
The new approach is welcome, if it improves the capacity of her office to sustain a case to a safe conviction. At the same time, one hopes that there will also be a thorough review of how the Prosecutor’s office works with local intermediaries- this is another issue that has dogged the Prosecutor’s office (most recently with the Kenya cases and allegations of witness coaching). The system needs greater transparency as the office will probably continue to use local organisations at some point in the course of its investigations