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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 25 March, 2003, 18:13 GMT
ICC selects Argentine prosecutor
Skulls from Khmer Rouge Killing Fields
The court will try war crimes cases
An Argentine lawyer, who helped to put his country's former military rulers on trial, is likely to be the first prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

The lawyer, Luis Moreno Ocampo, is so far the only candidate for the post in an election to be held at the end of April.

If elected, it will be up to him to decide whether or not to launch investigations into any of the more than 200 complaints already received by the body.

Signatory states to the Rome Treaty on the ICC have informally agreed and reached a consensus to elect Luis Moreno Ocampo to the position of court prosecutor
ICC statement
The ICC is the first permanent international tribunal established to try cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Eighty-nine countries have signed up to the international treaty creating the court, which was formally inaugurated in March in The Hague when 18 judges were sworn in.

However, the court lacks the support from the United States - a power behind the Nuremberg trials after World War II - which has raised concerns about its potential clout.

'Recognised integrity'

Mr Moreno Ocampo helped to prosecute his own country's former military rulers in the 1980s.

He is currently in private practice in Buenos Aires, as well as being a visiting law professor at Harvard University in the United States.

Richard Dicker, a lawyer for Human Rights Watch, noted that the committee meeting was informal and said nominations for prosecutor can still be received until 4 April.

But he said it was unlikely there would be other candidates.

Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein, president of the signatories of the Rome Treaty (1998) which set up the court, added that the choice was made "after months of consultation between governments on a certain number of quality candidates".

"In agreeing to Mr Moreno Ocampo, and following months of lengthy consultations between the governments on a number of strong contenders, the states parties are confident the newly-established court will benefit in the coming years from a gifted prosecutor with proven abilities; a man of recognised integrity," he said in a statement.

War crimes judges sworn in
11 Mar 03 |  Europe
US fears persecution
01 Jul 02 |  Americas

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