By Susan Kendi and Millicent Zighe
On June 30, the Committee on the Election of the Prosecutor announced the candidates they shortlisted for the job of International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor. The announcement was not made at a news conference, virtual or not. The committee’s report on the process they followed to reach that shortlist was simply posted on the Assembly of State Parties website. This is despite the obvious interest there was in the global international justice community about who’s in and who’s out.
Below are sketch profiles of the four candidates. Also included are excerpts of the committee’s views on each candidate and excerpts from each candidate’s letter of motivation. All this information is drawn from the committee’s report and the accompanying candidates’ reference material document, all of which are posted on the Assembly of State Parties website.
The Assembly of State Parties, the annual meeting of ICC member states, will make the final decision of who will be ICC prosecutor at their gathering scheduled for December.
Morris A. Anyah
Background: Anyah is a Nigerian with American dual nationality who has practiced law for 26 years. He has been a lawyer in the United States; at the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda (ICTY and ICTR); the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL); and the ICC. He currently runs his own law firm based in Chicago in the United States. Anyah has served as a prosecutor and defence and victims’ lawyer. He was part of the prosecution appeals team in the genocide case against a former Rwandan prime minister, Jean Kambanda, before the ICTR. But Anyah’s most prominent international crimes case was as defence lawyer for former Liberian President Charles Taylor before the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
What The Committee Said: “Mr. Anyah distinguished himself through his detailed knowledge of the Rome Statute, evident appreciation for the role of both diplomacy and meticulous trial preparation in the work of the ICC, and his understanding of the Court’s strategic context … While his managerial experience is limited to smaller teams, he provided a convincing understanding of the essential guiding principles relating to delegation, communication, integrity and financial stewardship. In the interview he presented himself as exceedingly well prepared and knowledgeable, as well as calm, thoughtful and deliberate in his responses.”
What Anyah Said: He said he had worked as counsel before the ICC and ad hoc international criminal tribunals with the “additional distinction” of having represented the prosecution, defence and victims. “Additionally, and in the particular context as prosecution counsel, my experiences have extended from domestic prosecutions in the United States to all phases of international criminal prosecutions, from preliminary investigations to the conclusion of the appellate process.”
He said if he was elected prosecutor, he would, “would be committed to finding creative legal avenues for effectuating the mandate of the Court to its fullest extent, in order to fulfill my Office’s unique role as the conscience and advocate of the voiceless in the fight against impunity.”
Background: Gaynor is Irish and has practiced law for 21 years. He has been a lawyer in Britain, Ireland and at the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda; the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC); and the ICC. Gaynor is currently the Reserve International Co-prosecutor at the ECCC. He has served as a prosecutor, defence counsel and lawyer for victims. He represented victims during the trial phase of the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at the ICC.
What The Committee Said: “Mr. Gaynor possesses a 360-degree understanding of the international criminal justice system. His work as prosecutor, defense and victims counsel as well as with civil society has provided him with a clear view of the challenges faced by the ICC, as well as a solid vision for addressing them … Despite his relatively limited management experience, Mr. Gaynor’s understanding of the principles of financial stewardship, accountability and the building of diverse and empowered teams instills confidence in the Committee that he would succeed in the management challenges in the OTP. His interview showed him to be thoughtful, thorough and proactive, with a clearly articulated vision for the future of the Court and the demands of change management.”
What Gaynor Said: “I have particular expertise with complex scientific, electronic and digital evidence. I have examined many witnesses on intercepted communications, ballistics, explosives, sniping, and military communications systems. I have supervised analysts using geolocation techniques to locate killing scenes and vehicle movements, and the identification of suspects on the basis of signature analysis.”
“I passionately believe that the OTP can and must do better. I have dealt with some of its greatest challenges: state cooperation; access to probative evidence; gender balance; and running most expeditious proceedings. I have the vision, tenacity and communication skills necessary to significantly improve the OTP’s conviction rate, and its efficiency. It would be an honour to serve as the next Prosecutor.”
Background: Okalany has been a lawyer and judge in Uganda for 26 years. She has served longest as a prosecutor, working in Uganda’s Directorate of Public Prosecutions for about 16 years. She was lead prosecutor in the Kampala bombing case in which eight out of the 13 accused persons were convicted. The International Association of Prosecutors gave her the 2017 Prosecutor of the Year Award for “her outstanding performance domestically and internationally in the fight against terrorism, by leading the team who performed the first successfully prosecuted terrorist case in Africa.” Okalany is currently a High Court of Uganda judge, serving in the International Crimes Division.
What The Committee Said: “Ms. Okalany has forged an impressive career under challenging circumstances, steered by a clear vision of the rule of law and justice for victims and a strong streak of independence in the face of political pressure and traditional gender roles. Although her prosecutorial and judicial experience is limited to the domestic arena, her experience in prosecuting atrocity crimes and addressing sexual and gender-based violence are highly germane to the substance of the Court’s work.”
“In the interview Ms. Okalany provided candid and thoughtful responses from the perspective of a situation country; an evident openness to learning and adapting; and resilience in the face of pressure.”
What Okalany Said: “I developed my passion for advocating for victims and witnesses of crime generally, during the sixteen years that I served as State Attorney with the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, helping mostly poor and oppressed women and children to obtain justice and when applicable, helping innocent suspects escape incarceration, by presiding over the conduct of effective and conclusive investigations.”
Background: Roy is a Canadian with 31 years of experience as a prosecutor handling many organised crime cases over the years. He is currently Senior General Counsel for the Public Prosecutor Service of Canada.
What The Committee Said: “Mr. Roy is a consummate professional prosecutor and team leader, with extensive experience in successfully preparing and leading complex, multi-defendant and high-profile criminal prosecutions, including in the face of intense public scrutiny and political pressure.”
“In his interview, Mr. Roy proved himself thoughtful, analytical and candid, with a thorough understanding of the many strands required to deal with complex and evolving situations.”
What Roy Said: “I have prosecuted complex cases of organized crime, economic crimes, and terrorism offences. Many of these cases were international in nature allowing me to work closely not only with our national police force but also with foreign ones.”
In his motivation letter Roy wrote in some detail about his prosecution of Désiré Munyaneza, a businessman in what was Butare, now Huye, in southern Rwanda. Munyaneza was also a leader of the Interahamwe in Butare. The Interahamwe was an extremist Hutu militia that perpetrated the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Roy said his prosecution of Munyaneza, who sought refuge in Canada under a false identity, led to “the only successful prosecution of war crimes in the history of Canada” in 2009. He said the case was a challenge. “I had to adapt to a context that was totally novel to me.”
“The trial was concluded in 19 months. It was a result of a planned prosecution focused on identifying the legal and practical problems and proposing solutions that allowed for an efficient and fair trial for the victims, the witnesses and the defendant. I would apply the lessons learned in that prosecution to my work as the Prosecutor of the ICC.”