22 April 2003

States Parties to Rome Statute Elect Luis Moreno Ocampo as Prosecutor of International Criminal Court

NEW YORK, 21 April (UN Headquarters) -- The Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, meeting in its second resumed first session this morning, elected Luis Moreno Ocampo of Argentina as Prosecutor of the Court.

Under the provisions of the Rome Statute, Mr. Ocampo was elected by secret ballot by an absolute majority of the members of the Assembly of States Parties. The Assembly decided that the term of office of the newly elected Prosecutor would commence on 16 June 2003.

Regarding the election of the Registrar, the working group of the Bureau, chaired by Vice-President Felipe Paolillo of Uruguay, would further consider the matter and make a recommendation for the Assembly's consideration.

During the second resumed first session, which is expected to close on 23 April, the Assembly will also elect members of the Committee on Budget and Finance and consider the appointment of the External Auditor. It will also open the nomination period for members of the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for the benefit of victims of crimes within the Court's jurisdiction and their families.

Following his election this morning, Mr. Ocampo will head the Office of the Prosecutor, which acts independently as a separate organ of the Court. The mandate of the Office is to conduct investigations and prosecutions of crimes that fall within the Court's jurisdiction. The Prosecutor may start an investigation upon a referral by a State Party, or a referral by the Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, of a situation in which there is a reasonable basis to believe that such crimes have been or are being committed.

The Prosecutor may also begin an investigation after receiving information on such crimes from other sources and after a preliminary examination of the material and an examination and authorization by the Pre-Trial Chamber.

Speaking before the election, the President of the Assembly of States Parties, Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein (Jordan), said the consultations concerning the Prosecutor had taken several months, not due to a lack of interest by Governments but the seriousness with which they had responded to the Bureau's appeal to avoid a contested election.

The Court was inaugurated on 11 March in The Hague, Netherlands, with the swearing in of the 18 judges elected during the Assembly's previous meeting in February 2003. [For background information, see Press Release L/3034 of 17 April.]

The role of the Prosecutor and that of the judges is key to shaping the Court and making it an independent, fair and effective institution to deal with crimes of the most grievous nature committed by individuals. The treaty establishing the Court, which entered into force on 1 July 2002, has thus far been ratified by 87 countries.

The Assembly will continue its work today at 3 p.m.

Results of Voting

Total number of ballot papers: 78

Number of invalid papers: 0

Number of valid papers: 78

Number of Members voting: 78

Number of abstentions: 0

Required majority: 44

Number of votes received by Luis Moreno Ocampo of Argentina: 78

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