Guilty Pleas and Plea Bargaining at the icc: Prosecutor v. Ongwen and Beyond

in International Criminal Law Review
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In 2015, after over ten years in operation, the International Criminal Court (icc) came as close as it has arguably ever come to receiving a guilty plea from an accused. In a television interview, alleged former brigade leader in the Lord’s Resistance Army, Dominic Ongwen, apparently asked Ugandans to forgive him for ‘all the atrocities I committed’. This caused speculation about whether the Office of the Prosecutor (otp) would and should enter into plea negotiations with Ongwen with a view to obtaining a guilty plea. This article explores the legal, practical and ethical questions associated with the seeking and obtaining of guilty pleas in the context of proceedings before the icc. It aims to provide pragmatic suggestions for the obtaining of guilty pleas while observing the highest standards of fairness to accused persons.

  • 11

    Scharfsupra note 4 p. 1070.

  • 12

    Combs (2002)supra note 2 pp. 10–11.

  • 18

    Combs (2002)supra note 2 p. 126.

  • 30

    Schabassupra note 9 pp. 779–780.

  • 35

    Scharfsupra note 4 p. 1079.

  • 36

    Schabassupra note 9 p. 779.

  • 38

    Rauxlohsupra note 24 pp. 8–9; Cook supra note 6 p. 489.

  • 42

    Scharfsupra note 4 p. 1076.

  • 44

    Rauxlohsupra note 24 p. 18. See also Damaška supra note 9 p. 1032.

  • 49

    Scharfsupra note 4 p. 1074.

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