Idris Fassassi

One concluding remark should be made about the arrest warrant issued against Omar Al Bashir in 2009 at the request of Luis Moreno-Ocampo. It is not a remark from a brilliant World Chess Champion, but rather a piece of wisdom possessed by the king in Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince. By requesting an arrest warrant against a sitting President, the Prosecutor sent a powerful signal of his commitment to fight impunity. In actuality, however, the arrest warrant led to the radicalization of the conflict, the forced departure of NGOs in the field, and the strengthening of the sentiment that ICC prosecutions were skewed against African states. Moreover, after four years, President Al Bashir remains in power. Each day that he spends in office is a defeat for the Court. Each day that he manages to spend abroad is an affront to the Prosecutor. It illustrates her weaknesses and demonstrates that she cannot checkmate her opponent. One could of course argue that issuing the arrest warrant was the “right” decision, that international criminal law is precisely about doing what may look impossible, that the Prosecutor should not abdicate in front of difficulty or that President Al Bashir is becoming more and more isolated. Maybe. But maybe the Prosecutor simply made his move too early. Maybe he should have followed the advice offered by the King in Saint Exupéry’s novel, “[use your] science of government and wait until conditions are favorable.

One thought on “Idris Fassassi

  1. shinichi Post author

    Understanding the ICC Prosecutor through the Game of Chess

    by Idris Fassassi

    Harvard Law School

    Loyola of Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Review


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