International Criminal Court: Issuance of Libyan Arrest Warrants and Other Developments

On June 27th, the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber issued warrants of arrest for Muammar Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi for crimes against humanity (murder and persecution) allegedly committed across Libya from 15 February 2011 until at least 28 February 2011, through the State apparatus and Security Forces.[1]

The Chamber concluded that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the three suspects committed the alleged crimes and that their arrests appear necessary in order to ensure their appearances before the Court; to ensure that they do not continue to obstruct and endanger the Court’s investigations; and to prevent them from using their powers to continue the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.

Apprehending the suspects will be a particular challenge for the ICC and its supporters. U.N. Security Council Resolution 1970 that referred the situation to the Court obligates the Libyan authorities to cooperate with the ICC. However, Gaddafi and the Libyan leadership have given no indication that they would cooperate at all with the Court. The warrants could also make it more difficult for Gaddafi to negotiate an exit into exile since he has few friends globally and all current 114 ICC States Parties are under an obligation to arrest him. Moreover, it is clear from this and other cases that the ICC Prosecutor and judges believe that they are obliged to proceed with a case referred by the Security Council if the evidence justifies it.

This challenge to the international community could prove an important opportunity for U.S. leadership and support to the Court. The U.S. has been working publicly to engage with the Court and support ICC cases. In particular, it has backed the Court’s effort to investigate and prosecute recent crimes in Libya. The arrest warrants issued today provide a new and concrete opportunity to advance U.S. national interests and to support international criminal justice. For this reason and since July 17 is International Justice Day, the American Non-Governmental Organizations Coalition for the International Criminal Court (AMICC) has created an International Justice Day alert action. It urges President Obama to help fulfill the mandate of Resolution 1970 by helping to carry out the arrest warrants issued today. Please sign and submit the letter to the President: http://www.change.org/petitions/ask-president-obama-to-support-the-icc-on-libya-and-help-arrest-gaddafi.

Two other recent developments should be mentioned.

Last week, on June 24th, Tunisia filed its documents acceding to the Court’s Rome Statute. Effective September 1, 2011, it will be the 116th State Party to the Statute.[2]

On June 23rd, the ICC Prosecutor announced that he had made a formal application to the Court’s Pre-Trial Chamber for authorization of an investigation of possible crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Ivory Coast since November 28, 2010.[3]


[1]  ICC Press Release, Pre-Trial Chamber I issues three warrants of arrest for Muammar Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdulla Al-Senussi(June 27, 2011); Simons, Hague Court Issues Warrant for Qaddafi for War Crimes, N.Y. Times (June 27, 2011). See Post: International Criminal Court: Investigations and Prosecutions (April 25, 2011); Post: International Criminal Court: Libya Investigation Status (May 8, 2011); Post: International Criminal Court: Three Libyan Arrest Warrants Sought (May 16, 2011); Post: International Criminal Court: Investigation of Gang-Rape in Libya (May 17, 2011). The Libyan situation was referred to the ICC by the U.N. Security Council. (Id.)

[2] ICC Press Release, Tunisia becomes the 116th State to join the ICC’s governing treaty, the Rome Statute (June 24, 2011).

[3]  ICC Press Release, ICC Prosecutor requests judges for authorization to open an investigation in Cote d’Ivoire (June 23, 2011).

International Criminal Court: The Upcoming Election of Its Prosecutor

This coming December the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will also elect a new Prosecutor for a single term of nine years.[1]

The Prosecutor is in charge of the management and administration of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP). That Office is “responsible for receiving referrals and any substantiated information on crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court, for examining them and for conducting investigations and prosecutions before the Court.”[2]

The Rome Statute sets forth the following necessary personal qualifications for the Prosecutor:

  • “High moral character;”
  • “Highly competent in and . . . extensive practical experience in the prosecution or trial of criminal cases;” and
  • Excellent knowledge of, and fluency in, one of the Court’s two “working languages” (English and French). [3]

Note that there is no requirement that the Prosecutor come from one of the Court’s States Parties. As a result, technically a U.S. citizen with the above qualifications would be eligible for election to this position, but given the history of the U.S. relationship with the Court and the global involvement of the U.S., most observers think it highly unlikely that a U.S. citizen could be, or should be, chosen for this job.

Six international human rights NGOs have advanced recommended selection criteria for the next ICC Prosecutor. Their doing so was in the context of what they saw as the challenges facing the ICC and its Prosecutor. The ICC’s work is done in a highly politicized international environment. The Prosecutor has to prioritize investigations and prosecutions to advance the Court’s goals, including victims’ right to justice. The Prosecutor must direct a diverse group of highly qualified people in a wide variety of complex and specialized tasks in the OTP. The Prosecutor must make trials relevant and meaningful for affected communities. The Prosecutor must promote complementarity, i.e.,  national investigations and prosecutions of crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction. The Prosecutor must cooperate with other organs of the ICC to continue to build the institution.[4]

With all of these challenges in mind, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the other five NGOs recommended the following criteria for selecting the next ICC Prosecutor in addition to the individual’s meeting the statutory requirements:

  1. Demonstrated experience of professional excellence in complex criminal cases. This is most important since the primary role of the Prosecutor is to conduct factually provable and legally sound prosecutions and trials. Former judges may meet this criterion too.
  2. Demonstrated ability to act with independence and impartiality in the exercise of professional duties. This criterion requires demonstrated experience with, or an understanding of, international relations and other institutions relevant to the work of the OTP.
  3. Demonstrated professional excellence in institutional mangament. The Prosecutor must also develop a positive work environment in a multi-cultural environment. Delegation and supervision have to be balanced.
  4. Demonstrated experience in working with other bodies or agencies to achieve a common goal. This involves resolving disputes or tensions.
  5. Demonstrated experience in communicating effectively to a wide variety of constituencies.[5]

HRW also has made suggestions regarding the OTP’s “preliminary examinations” of possible situations for possible investigation by the OTP. More can be done by the OTP in these examinations, says HRW, to encourage national authorities to undertake investigations and prosecutions of possible crimes. One way to do this, according to HRW, is for the OTP to issue interim reports on the status of such examinations. This is consistent with the Rome Statute’s desire to promote “complementarity.”[6]

Just this year the ICC has been asked to shoulder more burdens with the U.N. Security Council’s referral of the current situation in Libya to the ICC.[7] Thus, it is critically important to the world for the ICC to be strengthened in every way, including the election of a fully qualified new Prosecutor.


[1] Rome Statute, Art. 42; Post: The International Criminal Court: Introduction (April 28, 2011); ICC, Election of Prosecutor–2011,   http://www.icc-cpi.int/Menus/ASP/Elections/Prosecutor/Prosecutor.htm.    As previously discussed, in December 2011 the Assembly of States Parties will also elect six new judges. (SeePost: The International Criminal Court: Basics of Its Upcoming Judicial Election (June 23, 2011); Post: The International Criminal Court: Required and Recommended Qualifications for Its Judges (June 24, 2011).)

[2] Rome Statute, Art. 42(1), (2).

[3] Rome Statute, Arts. 42(3), 50(2).

[4] Human Rights Watch, ICC: Selection Criteria for the Next Prosecutor to Meet the Challenges Ahead (March 18, 2011), http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/03/18/icc-selection-criteria-next-prosecutor-meet-challenges-ahead. The five other NGOs are Federation Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme, International Center for Transitional Justice, International Crisis Group, Institute for Security Studies and Open Society Justice Initiative. The International Coalition for the International Criminal Court also actively participated in preparing this statement, but with 2,500 members, it was not possible to seek global endorsement. Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Human Rights Watch, ICC: Prosecutor Can Spur National Trials, Deter Crimes (June 15, 2011) http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/06/15/icc-prosecutor-can-spur-national-trials-deter-crimes. See Post: The International Criminal Court: Introduction (April 28, 2011); Post: The International Criminal Court: Investigations and Prosecutions (April 28, 2011).

[7]  See Post: The International Criminal Court: Investigations and Prosecutions (April 28, 2011); Post: The International Criminal Court: Libya Investigation Status (May 8, 2011); Post: The International Criminal Court: Three Liban Arrest Warrants Sought (May 16, 2011); Post: The International Criminal Court: Investigation of Gang-Rape in Libya (May 16, 2011).

International Criminal Court: Required and Recommended Qualifications for ICC Judges

We have seen that six of the 18 judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will be elected this December by its Assembly of States Parties. The requirements for equitable geographical and gender balance of the Court and for representation of the principal legal systems in the world have been discussed.[1]

Now we examine the more fascinating subject of the required and recommended personal qualifications for these judgeships.

The Rome Statute sets forth the following necessary personal qualifications:[2]

  • High moral character;
  • Impartiality;
  • Integrity;
  • Possessing the qualifications required by their States for appointment to their highest judicial offices;
  • Excellent knowledge of the Court’s two “working languages” (English and French) and fluency in at least one of these languages;
  • Established competency in either (a) “criminal law and procedure, and the necessary relevant experience, whether as judge, prosecutor, advocate or in similar capacity, in criminal proceedings” (the List A candidates) or (b) “relevant areas of international law such as international humanitarian law and the law of human rights, and extensive experience in a professional legal capacity which is of relevance to the judicial work of the Court” (the List B candidates);[3] and
  • At least some of the judges need to have “legal expertise on specific issues, including, but not limited to, violence against women or children.”[4]
In addition, Human Rights Watch has set forth certain other qualifications it deems important to enable the ICC to fulfill its overall mandate to combat “the most serious crimes of international concern.”[5] These additional qualifications are the following:
  • Substantial experience in criminal trials. This really is an emphasis of the statutory requirement that the List A judges have “experience, whether as judge, prosecutor, advocate or in similar capacity, in criminal proceedings.” Thus, Human Rights Watch suggests that at least five of the six new judges come from the A List candidates.
  • The capacity and willingness to meet the demands of adjudicating cases over a nine-year term. The new judges, it is suggested, must “possess the capacity (including stamina) and motivation to meet the many demands on [ICC] judges . . . over a full nine-year term.” In other words, the ICC judgeships are not sinecures to reward distinguished national judges at the end of their careers.
  • Commitment to ongoing training. The new judges should “value continuing legal education and . . . [be] willing to participate in initiatives [to promote] . . . legal innovation and coordination among all judicial chambers [of the Court] in adjudicating complex questions relating to law and policy.”

Implicit in the recommendations by Human Rights Watch is the need for the ICC continually to find ways to improve its efficiency, i.e., its ability to dispose of cases expeditiously. The same challenge faces the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in their final months, as was discussed at a recent U.N. Security council meeting.[6] Specific suggested changes for improving ICC efficiency have been put forward by one of the six ICC judges to be replaced in this election, Judge Fulford from the U.K.[7] Another set of such recommendations recently has been advanced by the War Crimes Research Office at American University’s Washington College of Law.[8]

I concur in the Human Rights Watch suggested qualifications, but believe that greater emphasis needs to be placed on the importance of electing new ICC judges with previous international criminal law experience. There are important differences between domestic and international criminal trials, and there is now a group of former judges, prosecutors and advocates who already have had such international experience at the ICC, ICTR, ICTY and other similar tribunals. To use a U.S. baseball analogy, look for major league free agents in addition to finding capable minor leaguers to promote to the big leagues. It is encouraging that all four of the first nominees have such international experience.[9]

The importance of this judicial election also had been recognized by the International Coalition for the International Criminal Court. It has called for the nomination of the most highly-qualified jurists for these positions.[10] In addition, the Coalition has established the Independent Panel on ICC Judicial Elections. This Panel was charged with providing “an independent assessment of whether each judicial candidate fulfills the qualifications established by Article 36 of the Rome Statute.” The five Panel members are all distinguished people with international legal experience.[11]

Just this year the ICC has been asked to shoulder more burdens with the U.N. Security Council’s referral of the current situation in Libya to the ICC.[12] Thus, it is critically important to the world for the ICC to be strengthened in every way, including the election of six fully qualified new judges.


[1]  See Post: The International Criminal Court: Basics of Its Upcoming Judicial Elections (June __, 2011).

[2] Rome Statute, Arts. 36(3), 38(8)(b), 50(2).

[3] List A judges are supposed to be at least nine in number; the List B judges, at least five. (Rome Statute, Art. 36(5).) All six of the retiring judges came from the A List. Of the six to be elected this December at least two must come from the A List while no one has to be from the B List. (See Post: The International Criminal Court: Basics of Its Upcoming Judicial Elections (June 23, 2011).)

[4] The author does not know of any legal issue that has been identified for judicial expertise other than the one specified in this Article of the Statute.

[5] Human Rights Watch, ICC: Recommendations for Nominating and Electing Candidates to Serve as Judges (May 18, 2011), http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/05/18/icc-recommendations-nominating-and-electing-candidates-serve-judges; Rome Statute, Art. 1.

[6]  See Post: International Criminal Justice: Winding Down Two Ad Hoc Criminal Tribunals (June 18, 2011).

[7]  Id.

[8]  SaCouto, How to speed up ICC Proceedings (June 21, 2011), http://intlawgrrls.blogspot.com/2011/06; War Crimes Research Office, Expediting Proceedings at the International Criminal Court (June 2011), http://www.wcl.american.edu/warcrimes/icc/documents/.

[9] See Post: The International Criminal Court: Basics of its Upcoming Judicial Election (June 23, 2011).

[10]  International Coalition for the International Criminal Court, Global Coalition Calls on States to Nominate the Most Highly-Qualified Judicial Candidates for the ICC (June 21, 2011), http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents/.

[11] Independent Panel on ICC Judicial Elections, http://iccindependentpanel.org/. The Panelists are (i) The Honorable Hans Corell, former Judge of Appeal and former U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and Legal Counsel; (ii) The Honorable Justice Richard Goldstone, former Chief Prosecutor for the ICTR and ICTY; (iii) Judge O-Gon Kwon, Vice President of the ICTY and former Presiding Judge at the Daegu High Court; (iv) Dr. Cecilia Medina Quiroga, Co-Director of the Human Rights Centre at the University of Chile and former President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights; and (v) The Honorable Patricia Wald, former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and former Judge of the ICTY.

[12]  See Post: The International Criminal Court: Investigations and Prosecutions (April 28, 2011); Post: The International Criminal Court: Libya Investigation Status (May 8, 2011); Post: The International Criminal Court: Three Liban Arrest Warrants Sought (May 16, 2011); Post: The International Criminal Court: Investigation of Gang-Rape in Libya (May 16, 2011).

International Criminal Court: Basics of Its Upcoming Judicial Election

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has 18 judges, each of whom serves only one term of nine years. In December of 2011 six new judges will be elected by the Court’s governing body, the Assembly of States Parties.[1]

Aside from specified and recommended personal qualifications for these judgeships,[2] there are requirements that judges come from the current 115 States Parties, that no State may have more than one judgeship and that there be equitable geographical and gender representation on the Court. There is also a requirement that the Court have representation of the “principal legal systems of the world.”[3]

Of the six judges who will be replaced in the upcoming elections, three are female and three are male. Two are from Latin America (Brazil and Costa Rica), two from Africa (Mali and Uganda) and two from Western Europe and Other (France and the U.K.)[4]

Given the Rome Statute’s requirement for considerations of geographical and gender equity  and for certain proportions for Lists A and B judges, the upcoming elections will seek to elect up to 2 females and at least 4 males who come from the A List (at least 4) and the B List (no more than 2) from the following geographical areas:

  • Africa: 2 from 28 African States Parties (31 -3 (Botswana, Ghana and Kenya, which already are represented on the Court));
  • Latin America: 2 from 24 Latin American and Caribbean States Parties (26  – 2 (Argentina and Bolivia, which already are represented on the Court)); and
  • Western Europe & Other States Parties: 2 from 22 Western European/Other States Parties (25 – 3 (Belgium, Finland, and Germany, which already are represented on the Court)).[5]

Nominees for these six positions must come from the 115 States Parties (with no more than one nomination from each such State) during the period June 13 through September 2, 2011. Each nomination must have a statement specifying how the individual meets the personal requirements of the Rome Statute.[6]

As of June 22, 2011, there were the following four nominations:[7]

  • Judge John Bankole Thompson of Sierra Leone. He has been a Judge of the High Court of Sierra Leone and of the Trial Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He also has been a law professor in his country and in the U.S. (University of Akron School of Law, Kent State University and Eastern Kentucky University. He holds LLB, M.A. and Ph. D. degrees in law from Cambridge University.
  • Bruno Cathala of France. He has been the ICC’s Registrar and its Director of Common Services; Deputy Registrar of the ICTY; president of two regional French courts and one of its juvenile courts. He also has been Deputy Director of a French government department for judicial protection of juveniles. He hold degrees from France’s Institutes of Higher National Defense Studies and of Higher Internal Security Studies and a post-graduate pre-PhD diploma in Private Law from the School of Law, University of Paris.
  • Chile Eboe-Osujl of Nigeria. He has been an advocate in criminal cases in the courts of Nigeria and Canada and a prosecutor at the ICTR and the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He has served as an advisor to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and to the Nigerian delegation to the ICC’s Review Conference on the crime of aggression. He has taught international criminal law at the University of Ottawa. He has special experience and expertise regarding violence against women and children.
  • Gberdao Gustave Kam of Burkina Faso. He has been an ad litem judge for the ICTR and a judge in several courts in his country. He also has served in his country’s Ministry of Justice.

The more fascinating issue of the specified and recommended personal qualifications for these positions will be discussed in a future post.


[1] See Post: The International Criminal Court: Introduction (April 28, 2011); Rome Statute, Art. 36 (1), (9); ICC, Election of six judges–December 2011, http://www2.icc-cpi.int/Menus/ASP/Elections/Judges/2011/2011.htm.

[2] A future post will discuss the Rome Statute’s specified qualifications for judgeships as well as recommended qualifications proposed by civil society.

[3] Rome Statute, Art. 36 (7), (8)(a).

[4] International Coalition for the International Criminal Court, Information about the Nomination and Election of Six New Judges and the Prosecutor, New York, December 2011, http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents/.

[5] Id.

[6]  Rome Statute, Art. 36 (4)

[7]  ICC, Election of six judges–December 2011, http://www2.icc-cpi.int/Menus/ASP/Elections/Judges/2011/2011.htm.

International Criminal Justice: U.S. Reportedly Failed To Detain Rwandan Indictee of Spanish Court

In May 2011 Justus Majyambere, a major in the Rwandan Defense Forces, apparently visited the U.S. Military Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas as an official representative of his government. The purpose of the visit was to obtain ideas for starting a military college in Rwanda.[1]

That sounds like a positive development.

But Majyambere is under indictment by a Spanish court for alleged involvement in the killing of nine employees of a Spanish NGO in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Therefore, he is under an Interpol “red notice,” a worldwide bulletin that is roughly equivalent to an arrest warrant. As a result, he reportedly was arrested upon his recent arrival in the U.S., but mysteriously was not detained and sent to Spain.[2]

If all of this is true, it is contrary to repeated statements by U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, Stephen Rapp, about U.S. supporting the arrest of fugitives from international criminal justice.[3] It is also contrary to the global goal of punishing and deterring violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.


[1] Rosen, U.S. Hosted Alleged Rwandan War Criminal for Military Visit, (June 20, 2011), http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/06/us-hosted-alleged-rwandan-war-criminal-for-military-visit/240679/.

[2]  Id.

[3]  See Post: The International Criminal Court and the Obama Administration (May 13, 2011); Post: The International Criminal Court: Possible U.N. Security Council Referral of Syrian Human Rights Abuses to ICC (June 18, 2011).

Celebrating the Rhodes Scholarships’ Centennial

In July 2003 the Rhodes Trust[1] hosted gala celebrations of the centennial of the Rhodes Scholarships. My wife and I were privileged to be there.

Westminster Hall

Westminster Hall
Palace of Westminster

The main event was held in London’s Westminster Hall, which is part of the Palace of Westminster. Other parts of the Palace are the Chambers for the House of Commons and the House of Lords. When it was built in 1097, the Hall at 240 feet by 68 feet was the largest hall in Europe; in the reign of King Richard II it obtained a clear-span wood-beam roof. Here were held the trials of King Charles I, Sir William Wallace, Sir Thomas More, Guy Fawkes and the Earl of Strafford, all of whom were condemned to death. The Rhodes event in 2003 was the first (and, I think, still the only) time it had ever been used for a non-state occasion.[2]

As we were standing in a queue to go through security to enter the Hall, a BBC reporter quizzed me about the significance of the relatively few Rhodes Scholars who were in the George W. Bush Administration. I, however, declined to see any significance to that fact other than to note that Scholars usually were interested in trying to improve people’s lives through government programs.

The audience of over 1,000 Rhodes Scholars and their spouses were treated to interesting speeches from Lord Waldegrave, the Chairman of the Rhodes Trustees;[3] “Nicky” Oppenheimer, the Chairman of DeBeers, the diamond mining company started by Cecil Rhodes in South Africa in the 19th century;[4] Bill Clinton, the former U.S. President; Tony Blair, then the Prime Minister of the U.K.; and Nelson Mandela, the former President of South Africa.[5]

Lord Waldegrave commented on the recent creation of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, a joint venture of the Rhodes Trustees and the Nelson Mandela Foundation to support aid and education in South Africa. An overarching theme of the centennial was the closing of the circle by joining together the controversial 19th century white entrepreneur (Rhodes) and the 20th century post-apartheid black South African leader (Mandela).[6]

Oppenheimer drew chuckles from the audience when he said that he was confident that the Founder (Cecil Rhodes), looking down from above, or perhaps looking up from below, would be proud of the accomplishments of his Scholars.

Tony Blair & Bill Clinton

Clinton joked that it was a sign of progress that all of the politicians that day felt safe in the Hall where King Charles I and Sir Thomas More had been tried and condemned to death. He and the other Scholars, he said, had been “enriched, enlarged and changed” by their time at the University of Oxford, and many of them had made “great contributions across the globe in public service, the arts, the sciences, business, the military, religion and other fields.” Clinton also applauded the new Mandela Rhodes Foundation to “bring some of Rhodes’ wealth back to its origins to help build a new South Africa.”[7]

Blair, putting his glasses into his breast pocket, said that President Mandela had just told him that he never reads a speech so Blair reciprocated by saying he would not read the speech that the Foreign Office had written for him. Blair recalled that when he was a student at Oxford, an Australian or New Zealand Rhodes Scholar had encouraged Blair to go into politics. Blair said that Mandela “is a person who, probably more than any other political figure, certainly in my lifetime, establishes the triumph of hope over injustice.” Blair also challenged the international community to do more to tackle the scourge of HIV and AIDS in Africa and the developed world to lift tariffs to help African exports.

Nelson Mandela

Mandela gave the concluding speech. He noted that Rhodes had made his fortune in South Africa and imagined that he would endorse the “decision to develop human capacity in modern-day South Africa, enabling that country to continue being a competitive presence in the world as it was in those fields within which he operated during his times.” Indeed, Mandela said, he was “certain, Cecil John Rhodes and I would have made common cause.”[8]

When all the speeches were finished, everyone on the speakers’ stage walked the over 200-feet length of the hall through the audience. Mandela, then nearly 85 years old, was frail, and to help him make the long walk, his right arm was held by Tony Blair; his left, by Bill Clinton. They brought tears to our eyes as they passed six feet from us on their journey through the Hall.

National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery, London

My wife and I then joined many others walking down Whitehall to the National Portrait Gallery on Trafalgar Square. In the Gallery’s Tudor Rooms Rhodes Scholars from the early 1960’s gathered for conversation, drinks and music from a string quartet.

Other groups of Scholars met in other parts of the Gallery and in the Banqueting Hall on Whitehall.

Dinner at Worcester College

We then went by train to Oxford, where each college held special black-tie dinners honoring their Rhodes Scholars.

Worcester College put out all the college silver and crystal for its Rhodes Scholar dinner. Everyone had an assigned place for the main courses and a different place for dessert. For the main course I was seated across the table from Julian Ogilvie Thompson, a South African Rhodes Scholar who was a director and former executive of DeBeers and the Anglo American gold and diamond mining company.[9]

After dinner I talked with David Kendall, who was at Worcester, 1966-68, and who in 1993 began legal representation of President and Mrs. Clinton in various matters, including the 1998-99 impeachment proceedings against Mr. Clinton.[10] David and I had met in the Spring of 1966, just after he had been elected as a Rhodes Scholar from Indiana’s Wabash College. Illinois Governor Otto Kerner had studied at Cambridge University and that Spring hosted a Cambridge-Oxford Boat Race Dinner at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield. I joined a group that bused to Springfield from Chicago for the dinner, and David was a special guest on the bus and at the dinner.

Conclusion

These spectacular events reminded me of how fortunate I was to have been selected as a Rhodes Scholar and to have had the amazing experience of an Oxford education. Thank you, Cecil Rhodes.


[2] Wikipedia, Palace of Westminster, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_Westminster.

[3] Wikipedia, William Waldegrave, Baron Waldegrave of North Hill, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Waldegrave,_Baron_Waldegrave_of_North_Hill.

[4]  Wikipedia, Nicky Oppenheimer, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicky_Oppenheimer; Wikipedia, DeBeers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Beers.

[5] Russell, Mandela celebrates 100 years of Rhodes, (July 3, 2003), http://www.independent.co.uk; Johnson, Mandela, Clinton Celebrate with new Rhodes-Mandela Foundation (July 6, 2003), http://africanamerica.org.

[6] Earlier the Rhodes Trust had held centenary celebrations in South Africa.

[7] Bill Clinton, Speech: Rhodes Trust Centenary Celebration (July 2, 2003), http://www.clintonfoundation.org. I previously noted Clinton’s acknowledging his family’s embarrassment that he had not earned an Oxford degree in his two years at Oxford while congratulating his daughter Chelsea’s Oxford degree that summer. (See Post: Reading PPE at Oxford (June 6, 2011).

[8] Nelson Mandela, The Patron’s Founding Speech (July 2, 2003), http://db.nelsonmandela.org/speeches/pub_view.asp?pg=item&ItemID=NMS1073&txtstr=westminster.

[10]  David Kendall Biography, http://www.wc.com/dkendall

Oxford’s Lord Franks

Lord Franks

In February 1962, Sir Oliver Shewell Franks was installed as the Provost of Oxford’s Worcester College. Three months later he was awarded a life peerage as Lord Baron Franks, of Headington in the County of Oxford.[1]

As a Worcester student at the time, I soon learned that Franks was “Mr. Establishment.”

After a brilliant performance as a Classics student at Oxford with a Congratulatory First in 1927, Franks immediately was elected a Fellow in Philosophy at Oxford’s Queens College. There he helped to establish the new degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). In 1937 Franks moved to Glasgow University to hold the Chair in Moral Philosophy, a post once held by Adam Smith.

With World War II on the horizon in 1939, he was conscripted into the U.K. Civil Service to work in the Ministry of Supply, which was in charge of production of war material and equipment. His successful efforts to replenish the British military equipment after the forced withdrawal of forces from Europe at Dunkirk in 1940 drew praise, and by the end of the war Franks was Permanent Secretary of the Ministry. For this exemplary public service, he was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1942 and a Knight Grand Cross in 1946.

After the war in 1946, Franks returned to Oxford’s Queen’s College to be its Provost. He was able to hold this position for only two years, but thereafter was a lifetime Honorary Fellow of the College.

The reason for his 1948 departure from Oxford was his acceptance of a request by Prime Minister Clement Atlee to be the U.K. Ambassador to the U.S., a position he held until 1952. During these years he headed the British delegation for European discussions about what became the Marshall Plan for U.S. aid to Europe. He helped to found the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and became Chairman of the Organization for European Economic Cooperation.

In 1953 Franks had many offers of important jobs in the U.K. and Europe. The one he chose in 1954 was Chairman of Lloyd’s Bank, one of Britain’s largest banks, and he held this position until 1962, when he became Provost of Worcester College. Franks also headed many important commissions of inquiry and was on the board of trustees or directors of other important institutions in the U.K.

In 1960 Franks, with the support of influential heads of several Oxford colleges, was a candidate for the Chancellorship of the University of Oxford, its titular head. His main opponent was Harold Macmillan, then Prime Minister. I recall reading in Anthony Sampson’s Anatomy of Britain (1962) that the Chancellorship was an office elected by the holders of Oxford M.A. degrees, who were physically present at a meeting in Oxford’s Sheldonian Theater. Sampson also reported that Macmillan thought that losing this election to Franks would be a political embarrassment and so ordered or persuaded the many government officials and civil servants who held Oxford M.A. degrees to go by train to Oxford that day to vote for Macmillan. With that special effort, Macmillan won the election by a narrow margin and became the Chancellor. He still held that position in 1983 when he attended the dinner to celebrate Worcester College’s 700th anniversary.[2]

In 1962 when Franks became Worcester’s Provost, he turned down an offer from Prime Minister Macmillan to be the Governor of the Bank of England. He retired from Worcester in 1976, but remained active on the boards of various important institutions and government and university commissions until his death in 1992.

Through this life of remarkable service, Franks gained a reputation as the “Divine Authority” or the “Headmaster of Headmasters.” At 6’2″ with a high brow, he gave the impression of all-seeing omniscience. It was said that if you managed to break the ice with Franks, you would find a lot of cold water underneath.

With such a record and reputation, Franks was an imposing figure for a lowly Oxford undergraduate like me to encounter. I, therefore, was surprised to discover a shy, engaging human being.

At a sherry party in the Provost’s Lodgings at Worcester, Franks once asked me, “Krohnke, do you know why The Times (of London, of course) has advertisements on its front page?” I did not know, so he told me that in the great houses of Britain the butler ironed The Times before the head of the house read the newspaper. I thought that was a bit silly, but there is a scene in the movie The Remains of the Day in which the butler played by Anthony Hopkins is ironing the newspaper. And in the 2011 version of Upstairs, Downstairs a fuss is made when the newspaper arrives too late for the butler to iron the newspaper. (The Times many years ago ceased the practice of front-page advertisements only.)

In the Spring of 1963 Franks lead a “revision” session on political philosophy for Worcester students who were taking PPE Schools that year.[3] Franks mentioned “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” from the U.S. Declaration of Independence.  One of the English students who had attended Eton College, the preeminent English “public” school, interrupted to say, “I am sorry, I did not get that all written down. Would you repeat that phrase, please?” (Perhaps it was just my American background, but I always thought it odd that an Oxford University student, in PPE, would not know that phrase.)

In June 1963, after I finished PPE “Schools,” my fiancée and I were married in Oxford’s Manchester College Chapel. As a wedding gift, Lord and Lady Franks gave us a beautiful colored print of the Worcester Provost’s Lodgings.

After I had obtained a First in PPE, Franks sent me a short typed note with his “warm congratulations” and announcement of my receiving a “College Prize for your performance in the examination.” (The prize was “books to the value of ten guineas.”) Another short typed note at the same time stated that he  was “glad to give you the College Grace to take your B.A. degree.” (This undoubtedly was a form note that gave the college a lever to force you to pay all of your college bills.)

My best Franks story, however, took place earlier in one of Worcester’s Senior Common Rooms when my philosophy tutor gave an oral “report card” on my performance to Franks as the head of the College. All of us were in suit and tie, of course, and covered by academic gowns. My tutor must have given a positive report on my performance although I do not recall what he said. Franks responded, “Krohnke, your tutor says you are doing very well. But I do think there is more time for devilry.” I was caught totally off-guard by this note of levity from the august personage of Lord Franks. The word “devilry” was not in my vocabulary, but it sounded mischievous. I had no response.


[1] Wikipedia, Oliver Franks, Baron Franks, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Franks,_Baron_Franks; Middlemas, Obituary: Lord Franks, The Independent (Oct. 17, 1992), http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-lord-franks-1557796.html; Lambert, Lord Franks, Diplomat Who Led Marshall Plan Effort, Dies at 87, N.Y. Times (Oct. 18, 1992)(http://www.nytimes.com/1992/10/18/world/lord-franks-diplomat-who-led-marshall-plan-effort-dies-at-87.html?pagewanted=print&src=pm; Alex Danchev, Oliver Franks: founding father (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1993);Michael Hopkins, Oliver Franks and the Truman Administration: Anglo-American Relations, 1948-1952 (London: Frank Cass 2003); Smethurst, Oliver Shewell Franks, 139 Proceedings of the American Philosophical Soc’y 83 (1995); Franks, Britain and the Tide of World Affairs (London: Oxford Univ. Press 1955); Somerville, Oliver Franks, hsommerville.com.

[2] See Post: Celebrating Worcester College’s 700th Anniversary (May 29, 2011).

[3] See Post: Reading PPE at Oxford (June 6, 2011); Post: PPE Examinations at Oxford (June 10, 2011).