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Last Updated: Monday, 21 April 2003, 21:32 GMT 22:32 UK
Profile: Luis Moreno Ocampo

By Stephen Cviic
BBC News

Argentine lawyer Luis Moreno Ocampo has been appointed as the first prosecutor of the new International Criminal Court (ICC).

Luis Moreno Ocampo
Moreno Ocampo put Argentina's former military rulers on trial
Mr Moreno Ocampo was elected unopposed in a ballot of the more than 70 countries which ratified the ICC's founding statute.

The court is the world's first permanent institution with responsibility for trying war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Mr Moreno Ocampo, 50, first came to public attention in 1985, when as a young criminal lawyer, he was deputy public prosecutor in the trial for human rights abuses of former members of Argentina's military government.

They were convicted but later released under an amnesty by President Carlos Menem.

Mr Moreno Ocampo has always been willing to take on the rich and powerful in Argentina, prosecuting military officers responsible for the invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982, and campaigning against corruption.

ICC's public face

His law firm currently advises businesses on ethical practices.

Skulls from Khmer Rouge Killing Fields
The court will try war crimes cases

He has also defended some controversial figures, including the footballer Diego Maradonna, the former economy minister, Domingo Cavallo, and a priest accused of sexually abusing minors.

He is currently a visiting law professor at Harvard University in the United States.

As prosecutor of the ICC, Mr Moreno Ocampo will be the public face of a new institution which has received strong backing from many countries, but which has been shunned by the United States.

More than 200 complaints have already been registered with the court.

It will only be able to take on cases when no national court is willing or able to do so.


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