The ICC picking up Garzon?

It is being reported  in several outlets that the beleaguered Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon–who is under investigation by the Spanish judicial authorities–has been offered a post as a consultant with the International Criminal Court. If true, this is very surprising.

The complaints against Garzon in Spain may be thin and politically motivated (and ICC prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo clearly thinks so), but it’s beyond me why the ICC would want to associate itself so directly with the crusading judge. Garzon has championed, and is the public face of a broad form of universal jurisdiction that raises hackles in foreign ministries around the world. The ICC, by contrast, ultimately derives its authority from the consent of states and can only prosecute when the relevant states cannot or will not.

To this point, the ICC prosecutor and judges have moved cautiously and have sought to reassure important skeptics–not least the U.S. government–about their intentions. Hiring Garzon will not help in that effort.

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About David Bosco

Assistant Professor at American University's School of International Service. Contributing editor at Foreign Policy magazine. Author of Rough Justice: The International Criminal Court in a World of Power Politics and Five to Rule Them All: The UN Security Council and the Making of the Modern World
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