30 November 2017

Global Studies Panel Discussion: Corruption, Professional Ethics and the ICC

On Wednesday, 28 November 2017, Global Studies organized a panel discussion on corruption, professional ethics and the International Criminal Court (ICC). In order to give students a comprehensive understanding on these issues speakers from different disciplinary backgrounds were invited.

Hanneke Chin-A-Fo, investigative journalist and former ICC reporter for NRC Handelsblad, discussed, how, in close cooperation with several other European media outlets, she broke the story on allegations of abuse of power and professional ethics against the former chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo from the ICC. Chin-A-Fo provided us with insights on the collaborative investigation leading up to story, and the moral considerations that arise when breaking a story of this standing. Ocampo has made clear that he denies all allegations made against him and contests the manner in which information used in the stories was obtained.

International criminal defense lawyer, Colleen Rohan, shared her personal experiences of her time working for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia as well as before EULEX courts in Kosovo. There are several issues she pointed out that can lead to unethical behavior in international criminal justice institutions and highlighted the fact that many of these institutions are still developing. She stressed that the lack of a proper code of conduct can make it quite hard for lawyers with different legal and cultural backgrounds to work in a harmonized and consistent manner.

As a criminologist, Prof. dr. Judith van Erp (Utrecht University) focused her talk on research she has carried out on crimes of the powerful, answering questions like what makes people in high corporate functions resort to abuse of power, corruption and other forms of unethical behavior. She highlighted several character traits that are present not just in the minds of wrongdoers, but how they can manifest themselves in all of us. Moreover, Prof. van Erp pointed to the interchange between character traits and how organizational structures can affect the behavior of the so-called high status offenders.

Dr. Brianne McGonigle Leyh moderated the discussion and after the presentations opened the floor for questions.

A big thank you to our speakers for taking the time to engage with the students on such important matters and of course a big thank you to the students for your active participation. We hope to see you again at our next event ‘Green People, Green Judges’ on 11 December 2017.