Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Foka Taffo: Le pouvoir discrétionnaire du Procureur de la Cour pénale internationale

Frédéric Foka Taffo has published Le pouvoir discrétionnaire du Procureur de la Cour pénale internationale (Nomos 2018). Here's the abstract:

The prosecutor appears to be one of the key components of the judicial and institutional structure of the International Criminal Court. As such, he has broad prosecutorial discretion in the selection of situations and cases, on the one hand, and in the collection and administration of evidence, on the other. Firstly, it is at the prosecutor’s discretion to select situations in which investigations will be carried out. Similarly, once a case has been referred to him or when he has initiated an investigation in a situation in which it appears that crimes within the Court’s jurisdiction have been committed, it is once again within the Prosecutor’s discretion to select the crimes and the individuals on which he intends to focus his investigation and prosecution. His choices in this regard are therefore liable to criticism. The prosecutor’s power in the selection of situations, investigations and prosecution is not subject to sufficient scrutiny by the judges. This lack of judicial scrutiny of the prosecutor’s discretion leads to some unjustifiable failures.

Secondly, the ways in which evidence is collected and managed have to conform to rules that are clearly identified in the Rome Statute and which are intended to guarantee the rights of the accused and the preservation of a fair trial. The prosecutor’s failures, namely when he does not investigate incriminating and exonerating circumstances equally, can irremediably hamper the establishment of the truth. These failures, which are not always the result of the prosecutor’s wilful choices, can be an obstacle to the principle of equality of arms and can also compromise the accused’s capacity to properly prepare his defence. Furthermore, in terms of the administration of evidence, the difficulties encountered in communicating evidence may lead to similar consequences that will, in any case, prevent a fair trial.

These failures can, to some extent, be attributed to the prosecutor. However, one cannot ignore the fact that the Rome Statute and its Rules of Procedure and Evidence are equivocal on certain issues and, as such, can be interpreted in a way that is inconsistent with the aims and values encapsulated in the spirit of the Statute. In the same vein, the prosecutor, as an actor operating in an international context, is subject to pressures that have an impact on the efficiency of his actions. In implementing these actions, the prosecutor can also encounter some difficulties due to a variety of factors, such as a lack of cooperation among states.