Module 3 Viewing Guide Questions

The following questions can be used to facilitate large and small group discussions, prompt reflective writing, develop projects, and evaluate student understanding. For more ideas about how to use these questions to deepen students’ understanding of issues related to international justice, refer to our teaching strategies.

  1. ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo argues, “National sovereignty cannot be a limit to the international community’s duty to protect.” Do you agree with Moreno-Ocampo that the international community has a “duty to protect” victims of persecution, wherever they may live? Why or why not? 
  2. What is sovereignty? Why is it important for nations to have control over what happens within its borders? Under what conditions, if any, is it appropriate for the international community to intervene in a nation’s affairs? 
  3. The ICC is the first permanent international criminal court. What can a permanent court achieve that a temporary court cannot? What does it mean for a court to be international? What is the purpose of a criminal court (as opposed to a civil court)? 
  4. Currently, the ICC can only prosecute three crimes: genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Why do you think that the nations that drafted the Rome Statute agreed that only these crimes should fall under the jurisdiction of the ICC? What qualities do these crimes share? What other crimes, if any, do you think should fall under the jurisdiction of the ICC? 
  5. During the Rome Conference in 1998, there was debate whether aggression—an unprovoked attack on another country—should be a crime that comes under the jurisdiction of the ICC. Representatives decided to renew this debate in 2010, when member states will meet for a conference to review the Rome Statute. What arguments should ICC member states consider when voting on this issue? Do you think that the ICC should be able to prosecute countries for “the crime of aggression”? Why or why not? 
  6. In 2005, the United Nations Security Council asked the ICC to investigate alleged crimes being committed against children, women, and men in the Darfur region of Sudan. Why do you think the United Nations Security Council referred this case to the ICC? 
  7. Several members of the United Nations Security Council, including China, the United States, and Russia, are not ICC members themselves. These countries could have blocked the referral to send the Darfur case to the ICC. Yet, no vetoes were issued. How do you explain this situation? Why do you think that some countries that have not joined the ICC still allowed its use in this case? 
  8. What do you learn from the film about the life of ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo? How do you think Moreno-Ocampo’s past has shaped his views about justice? How have your experiences shaped your beliefs about justice?
  9. What is the role of the Office of the Prosecutor? What steps does a prosecutor take when trying to bring a case to trial? What challenges has Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo confronted in his attempt to prosecute Sudanese officials for alleged crimes committed in Darfur?
  10. How did the government of Sudan react to the arrest warrants for two of its citizens? What responsibility, if any, does the Sudanese government have to hand over its citizens to the ICC for prosecution? Should the ICC be able to force a country to turn over its citizens to The Hague?
  11. Moreno-Ocampo describes the ICC as follows: “This is a court based on voluntary cooperation of sovereign states.” What does this mean? What challenges does the ICC face that a national legal system does not encounter? How can an international court balance the autonomy of individual nations and the capacity to bring perpetrators to justice? 
  12. A legal precedent is a principle established by a prior case or cases. What precedent is being set by the case against President al-Bashir? What does this case suggest about how leaders who commit crimes against their own citizens will be treated by the international community? 
  13. Sudan’s ambassador to the United Nations asserts that the actions of the ICC are “politically motivated.” What does this mean? For what other reasons, besides wanting to achieve justice, would a nation or the United Nations refer a case to the ICC? What can be done, if anything, to ensure that the ICC is used to prosecute wrongdoing and not for other purposes? 
  14. Moreno-Ocampo explains, “The law is not just for judges, prosecutors and criminals.” According to Moreno-Ocampo, who else is the law for? Who do you think laws are written for? 
  15. Does the ICC share any responsibility for the damage caused when the Sudanese government expelled humanitarian aid workers from Darfur following the ICC’s issuance of an arrest warrant for President al-Bashir? The Sudanese government claims that the ICC is threatening the peace process. Should the ICC lift arrest warrants if this is the only way that the government will negotiate peace deals or improve treatment of its citizens? Why or why not? 
  16. What message do you think the filmmakers are trying to express in this module? What leads you to this conclusion? What might be their motivation? If you were making a film about the ICC, how might it be different? What message might you want to express?
  17. What other information would you need in order to have a better understanding of the ICC and how it works?

 

Continue to “When Would Be a Better Time to Arrest Harun?” the next section of this module.

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