Sunday, 2 January 2011

The other side of Ocampo & Google Web Alerts for: ICC Sudan

FOR the record, here is a copy of an insightful article and an amusing photo published at The Standard. Pity the author's name is not cited. I'd be interested in reading more of the author's writings. My guess is that the author is not American. Whatever, thanks to The Standard for such great reporting.

The other side of Ocampo
Source: The Standard -
By Standard Reporter
Monday, 03 January 2011. Full copy:
The storm Mr Luis Moreno-Ocampo stirred in Kenya over what critics perceive to be his abrasive, arrogant and rash style could just be what makes the strident Argentine lawyer.

Amid criticism locally that he defers to and plays to the American and European gallery and engages in ‘local politics’, at the international arena debate on Ocampo’s tactics and so-called blunders continues.

The criticisms are taking place as concern rises that if Kenya exits from the International Criminal Court (ICC) it could open a floodgate for the rest of African States to do so on the premise it served Western interests.

Ocampo’s outspokenness on his cases would continue to confound Kenyans ahead of March’s determination of his application for summonses against six prominent Kenyans.

This includes his vow to make Kenya an example to the World on impunity even before he commenced investigations and the naming of the six at an international news conference along with the charges he wants lined against them.

The thrust of arguments against Ocampo’s style hinge on what is perceived to be personalised approach, search for stardom through media, and breakneck speed. It is this style that has propped accusations that so far, he has failed to successfully indict those charged from crimes committed in Sudan, Congo and Uganda since the court was established in April 2003.

ICC Chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo

The World Affairs Journal, which is online, has a 6,000-word critical audit of Ocampo’s style, performance and conduct in office. The hard-hitting piece was posted in Spring 2009. The appraisal by renowned writers, authors and researchers Julie Flint and Alex de Waal, came as Kenyan leaders continued to criticise Ocampo amidst mounting pressure on the country to pull out of Rome Statute.

Information Minister Samuel Poghisio warned that Ocampo had become a "political persecutor" who has "thrown all caution to the wind in pursuit of some individuals."

Justice Assistant Minister William Cheptumo argued Ocampo neither bothered to carry out fresh investigations on post-election violence nor had capacity to do so.

The piece by Flint and de Waal raised serious credibility issues on Ocampo as a Prosecutor at the ICC.

"The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations didn’t want its overstretched and vulnerable peacekeepers conscripted as ICC enforcers. It also had Luis Moreno-Ocampo as its lead prosecutor," they wrote.

"But three years into his tenure, many in the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) were questioning his ability to do the job. A further three years on, and the Court is in trouble — a trickle of resignations has turned into a haemorrhage, and cases under prosecution and investigation are at risk of going calamitously wrong," the World Affairs Journal wrote.

It further reported that though several high ranking investigators and those serving in the OTP are among the best legal brains, many had quit over the years because they did not approve how cases were being investigated.

The authors also raised a sex scandal in which a South African journalist reportedly accused Ocampo of forcing himself on her, including confiscating her keys and confining her.

When the then ICC Public Information Adviser, Christian Palm, filed a "gross misconduct" complaint against Ocampo, the Prosecutor fired Palm.

Other critics like Ugandan Dr David Nyekorach-Matsanga, who used to be the spokesman of Uganda’s fugitive rebel leader Joseph Kony, have written to the court and the United Nations Security Council asking for the Kenya case to be stopped.

"We have given the judges our views on the situation in Kenya because we believe Ocampo has not done any sufficient investigations in the country apart from holding hotel meetings in Nairobi," argued Matsanga who asked for ‘neutral investigation into the Kenyan case".

So far Ocampo has only managed to conclude the Lubanga trial on atrocities committed in Congo, which ended in an acquittal while an arrest warrant for Sudan President Omar al-Bashir is still pending.

On the Darfur genocide case, Flint and de Waal faulted Ocampo’s performance concluding: "The OTP got no further than the Hilton Hotel."

The journal said by the end of 2008, the Court had granted victim participation rights to just eleven Sudanese, as opposed to 171 Congolese and 57 Ugandans, and not a single case for witness protection on behalf of Darfurians had been presented before the judges.

The Prosecutor is said to have issued summons for two Sudanese whom he alleged were responsible for massacres and on February 27, 2007, demanded that Ahmed Harun, Minister of State for the Interior and Head of the "Darfur desk" that co-ordinated military and security operations in the region, and Ali Kushayb, a militia commander, to present themselves before The Hague.

Unlike in a domestic court, the ICC has a "Pre-Trial Chamber" of three judges who decide whether cases meet a relatively low threshold of reasonable grounds to conclude that a crime has been committed within the Court’s jurisdiction.

They argued Ocampo’s greatest asset was an exemplary cadre of professional staff for whom working at the ICC was more than a career — it was a vocation.

"I loved this job," an early recruit to the OTP told us. "It was my life."

The publication also reported, "the Prosecutor had opportunity to draw upon the accumulated expertise of existing international tribunals and some of the world’s finest lawyers and investigators but the asset was rapidly squandered."

It said increasingly "Moreno-Ocampo’s staff found it difficult to agree with their own Prosecutor, whose penchant for publicity and extravagant claims rather than fine detail was the polar opposite of their own work ethic."

"As the pressures on him mounted, Moreno Ocampo, in the opinion of many of his colleagues, began to "cut corners," wrote the paper.

The writers further pointed out that Ocampo announced publicly that he planned to intercept a plane on which Harun, the Sudanese suspect was scheduled to fly to Saudi Arabia for the Haj."

"If he really sought to arrest Harun, why advertise his own plan?" asked the writers.

The online publication said, "as internal criticism grew louder, Moreno-Ocampo listened less and took closer personal charge than ever…A senior team member said the Prosecutor was the most complicated and difficult manager he had ever worked for, emotionally volatile and obsessed with micromanaging."

"A key member of the OTP is said to have left, "saying privately that he was fearful of having to defend an indefensible position a few years down the line," they reported.

Mosop MP David Koech claimed the African Union no longer had faith in the Rome Statute and several member countries would soon initiate a process to be excluded from it.

"The ICC Prosecutor has performed way below expected international standards in the Kenyan case and has proved to all that he is a political activist and not a professional prosecutor," Koech said.

Ocampo’s former boss in the Argentine military ‘Junta’ trials, the journal reported, "disliked his love of the media spotlight".

It added, "many prosecution witnesses, victims of some of the worst human rights abuses on the continent, shied away from him."
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Further Reading

The Ocampo Six are Kenyans, but Rwanda, Uganda need to worry
Source: The East African -
By Joint Report - Monday, 20 December 2010
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Case Closed: A Prosecutor Without Borders
Source: The World Affairs Journal -
By Julie Flint and Alex de Waal - Spring 2009

Click here to read comments in response to the article at Incase the page disappears here is a copy of the comments:

I have very carefully and slowly read this article. If it was Christmas, this would be the Authors' Christmas gift to me. I wish there was a way in which this article could be made more accessoible to as many people as possible - especially to those of us who had been recently described by Professor Mahmoud mamdani as Human Rights Fundamentalists. Ther is everything wrong with individual who abuse their power but this pales in comparison to those who make every efforts to subvert entire systems for personal agrandisement.

Posted by Abdulrahman Wandati | April 8, 2009 11:31:34 AM EDT
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The anomalies exposed by the authors of this article regarding the ICC's decision to issue the arrest warrant of Al-Bashir , president of Sudan glaringly show the contradictions/ paradoxes The Hague based court of International Criminal Court seems to have suffered from, thereby undermining the dignity, neutrality and impartiality that is expected from and imputed with that court in terms of maintaining justice/ judicious perception both in form and substance.

Posted by Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi | April 19, 2009 08:38:34 AM EDT
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Most of the controversy over the Bashir case has focused on the prudence of indicting a head of state in a fragile country prone to conflict. Those 300,000 died are human beings. Why iis Alex de Waal alway and unconditionally defending criminal al-Bashir?

Posted by Darfur Daily News | May 8, 2009 3:11:51 PM EDT
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I can't see how any interpretation of this article could be read as a defense of al-Bashir. The focus is on Ocampo's failure to meticulously, or otherwise, gather probative evidence to support the charges, rather he seems to be pursuing a maxim of "fiat justitia ruat caelum" (let justice be done though the heavens may fall) in a conflict region where it seems quite likely that the heavens might do just that.

Posted by Rachel Flynn | June 25, 2009 7:11:35 PM EDT
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Dear Sir: Alex de Waal advance against Luis Moreno Ocampo (“Case Closed,” Spring 2009), it helps to know that the authors’ real grievance is that leveling international charges against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is a mistake. The authors put forward Moreno Ocampo as the alleged incompetent, but their true disagreement is with a host of actors: the ICC Judges, who issued the warrant naming Bashir; the governments of the U.S., U.K., and France, who have firmly resisted calls to defer Bashir’s prosecution; the UN Security Council, which referred the Darfur case to the ICC back in 2005; and Darfuris themselves, who favor the view that peace in Darfur will not be attained absent justice. I can state that their portrayal of Moreno Ocampo’s ICC tenure rests on a base of misstated facts and material omissions. The authors also fail to disclose the interests and biases of their (unnamed) sources. The authors also fall well short of proving that Moreno Ocampo’s tenure has been incompetent or that he has acted “without borders.” Moreno Ocampo’s decision that his criminal investigators could not safely operate in Darfur was cautious and, in the end, correct. The Sudanese government indeed detained and tortured persons believed to be cooperating with the ICC and recently expelled aid groups based on the same pretext. Most have judged that this Prosecutor’s tenure has been characterized by extreme conservatism in executing the prosecutorial mandate: four investigations opened in the world’s worst conflicts and in each case following either self-referral by an involved State or referral by the Security Council. The Prosecutor’s strict observance of boundaries is what accounts, in no small part, for the Bush administration’s abandonment, over time, of its categorical opposition to support for the court’s work. The issue is not the man or the woman: it’s the mandate and, now, the institution. The view of Flint and de Waal—to propose no solution other than to let even the world’s worst atrocities continue—is becoming obsolete. Discussing policy might be more productive than engaging in character assassination.

Christine Chung
Former ICC Senior Trial
Attorney (2004–2007)

Posted by Christine Chung | May 15, 2009 11:16 AM EDT
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Christine Chung’s fuming response to Alex de Waal’s and Julie Flint’s carefully researched and rather moderate review of the confused years of Luis Moreno Ocampo’s years as ICC Prosecutor needs some background to be fully understood. In the Prosecution Division of the ICC OTP (Office of the Prosecutor) Chung played the role of Moreno Ocampo’s special confidante and hit man. It was a well known fact in the OTP that Chung and Moreno Ocampo had a special and personal relationship. She had the right to bypass her own superior in the Prosecution Division, Deputy Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, and go directly to Moreno Ocampo, very often providing critical information regarding her colleagues or even her supervisor, the Deputy Prosecutor. Indeed, on one occasion, in 2006, Chung despatched a 500 word e-mail to Moreno Ocampo with accusations against Bensouda for being incompetent. The wording in this e-mail (which I have read, courtesy of Moreno Ocampo’s personal assistant Sofia Velasco), was such that in any normal organisation an employee who, while bypassing her own superior had sent a similar letter to a principal, would have been the subject of disciplinary proceedings, or even immediate dismissal. The problem of Chung’s short cut to Moreno Ocampo was widely discussed in the office and one (brave) colleague of Chung in the PD (Prosecution Division) even had the audacity to bring it up in a conference with all OTP managers present. Chung was also known for aggresively hunting Moreno Ocampo dissenters in the office, often with e-mails that were copied to many staff members. These e-mails routinely were laced with highly abusive personal remarks. The Investigation Divison even had compiled a special file of these abusive e-mails. One staff member in the end found it necessary to invoke the internal rules against “sexual and other forms of harassment” in order to bring a halt to Chung’s abusive campaign. Chung’s comments to World Affairs should hence not be seen as independent of Moreno Ocampo, but rather as a proxie or client acting on orders from Moreno Ocampo. Christian Palme former Public Information Adviser to the ICC prosecutor.

Posted by Christian Palme | September 8, 2009 09:17:52 AM EDT
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ICC Vs. SUDAN: Calculating the cost
Source: Sudan Tribune -
By Kwathi Ajawin - November 26, 2008*
The author is a Sudanese church and community leader based in Washington, DC., and can be reached at

*Note from Kenya Watch editor: The article at Sudan Tribune came to my attention via a Google Web Alert emailed to me by, today, Sunday, 02 January 2011 at 21:49 PM GMT UK. Here is a copy of the email:
Subject: Google Alert - ICC Sudan
Date: 2 January 2011 21:49:16 GMT

=== Google Web Alert for: ICC Sudan ===

ICC Vs SUDAN Calculating the cost Sudan Tribune Plural news and ...
By Kwathi Ajawin November 26, 2008 — What makes it difficult for some to
join the debate on our Sudanese forums on the issue of the ICC is the (...),29388>

This as-it-happens Google Alert is brought to you by Google.
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UPDATE: Here is a copy of a "Google Blogs Alert for: ICC Sudan" emailed to me by on Monday, 03 January 2011 at 00:48 AM GMT UK. The Alert features the blog post above. Note that Google's excerpt makes no mention of the current articles featured in the post above. Weird.
=== Google Blogs Alert for: ICC Sudan ===

The other side of Ocampo & Google Web Alerts for: ICC Sudan
By Editor
Google Web Alert for: ICC Sudan === ICC Vs SUDAN Calculating the cost Sudan
Tribune Plural news and ... By Kwathi Ajawin November 26, 2008 — What
makes it difficult for some to join the debate on our Sudanese forums on
the issue of the ...>

This as-it-happens Google Alert is brought to you by Google.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Being a brand new student to genocide and after carefully reading this article and all comments, I must say I'm less inclined to believe Christian Palm. It is an institutional problem, a mandate problem, with the U.S. happy to see such articles maligning a man obviously not well understood by the mainstream. Moreno is the right man for the job.