Politics and Prosecutions, from Katherine Fite to Fatou Bensouda

Diane Marie Amann, University of Georgia School of Law

Originally uploaded in SSRN.


Based on the Katherine B. Fite Lecture delivered at the 5th Annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs in Chautauqua, New York, this essay examines the role that politics has played in the evolution of international criminal justice. It first establishes the frame of the lecture series and its relation to IntLawGrrls blog, a cosponsor of the IHL Dialogs. It then discusses the career of the series' namesake, Katherine B. Fite, a State Department lawyer who helped draft the Charter of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg and who was, in her own words, a "political observer" of the proceedings. The essay then turns to the the International Criminal Court, in which the first Prosecutor insisted that his was a "judicial" mandate wholly separate from politics. With an eye to transition this year, when a new Prosecutor will assume office, it considers how the ICC might work more effectively within the context of policy choices its officers make.