Selective prosecution in Libya, Congo, Ivory Coast…
In a few months time Luis Moreno Ocampo’s term as Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) comes to an end, and not a day too soon.
In fact he should have been removed a long time ago as ICC prosecutor. He should have removed at the time when his colleagues first protested his actions in 2006 when he appeared at a press conference side by side with Uganda’s genocidal dictator Gen. Yoweri Museveni, to herald the indictment of Joseph Kony, leader of the notoriously brutal Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
His professional colleagues at the ICC protested, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal on June 8, 2006 because Gen. Museveni himself was eligible for indictment by the court as a result of the alleged war crimes committed by Uganda’s army when it occupied parts of Congo, with Museveni as commander in chief.
Indeed, Museveni was so concerned about being indicted, according to the same Wall Street Journal article, that he had contacted then U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and urged him to block the criminal investigation by the ICC. Annan, according to the article, said he had no such powers.
Congo had referred a complaint to the court. In 2005, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) , a separate tribunal which handles civil disputes between nations already had found Uganda liable for what amounted to war crimes -massacres, rapes, pillage of Congolese resources– during the occupation and awarded Congo $10 billion.
Gen. Museveni has never been indicted raising questions as to whether Ocampo played a role in quashing an investigation. Clearly, judging by his appearance, side-by-side with the unindicted suspect, Gen. Museveni, Ocampo showed that he cared more about press publicity than for justice for victims of atrocities and war crimes.
Many subsequent actions –or inaction– by Ocampo bears out this conclusion.
At the same time that he was turning a blind eye to the alleged crimes by Gen. Museveni’s army in Congo, he was trumpeting the indictment of Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for alleged war crimes committed during that country’s conflict in Darfur region. Ocampo conveniently ignored alleged war crimes by the rebels there including the murders of United Nations peace keepers.
This is because it would have run contrary to Western countries’ designs on the Sudan. Since the West was opposed to the Khartoum regime, any crimes committed by those fighting against it were to be ignored by Ocampo’s ICC.
Similarly, with respect to the Ivory Coast’s conflict, following the disputed elections there, Ocampo has once again been at his best, conducting selective prosecution. He has indicted the loser in that conflict, former president Laurent Gbagbo, who has now been shipped off to the Hague to face the victor’s justice. Ocampo has ignored the war crimes committed by Alassan Quattara’s forces, during its march to seize the capital, Abidjan. The alleged crimes by Quattara’s forces were well documented and covered by International news media. They occurred when there was a heavy United Nations’ military presence in the Ivory Coast.
Yet, Quattara is the politician preferred –many would argue, actually imposed– by the West. So once again, the crimes of his forces are whitewashed by International news media and ignored by Ocampo.
Ocampo has also ignored war crimes by: Gen. Museveni’s army in the northern part of Uganda; by Gen. Paul Kagame’s army in Rwanda and in Congo, and; by the militias of Gen. Kagame’s lackey, Gen. Laurent Nkunda in Congo.
Ocampo saved his most abysmal conduct for last; Libya.
In Libya, Washington, London and Paris sought regime-change. The West was determined to get rid of Muammar al-Quathafi once and for all. So UN Resolution 1973 was obtained, through duplicity and coercion, purportedly for the purpose of “saving” innocent Libyan civilians. The Resolution was corrupted into an aerial invasion of Libya by NATO. UN Resolution 1970, barring arms shipments, was also violated by France and Qatar which shipped weapons to the NATO-insurgents.
The merciless bombardment –for the purpose of “saving” civilians– led to much destruction of the country and reportedly to the deaths of thousands of Libyans. The human cost was ignored; the end justified the means.
During the course of the conflict, the NATO-insurgents committed war crimes, including summary executions of Libyans suspected of supporting al-Quathafi’s government and beheadings and lynching of suspected regime loyalists, many of whom were innocent migrants from other African countries.
The worst war crime committed by the NATO-insurgents was the racially-motivated ethnic cleansing of Black Libyans, in the cities of Misurata and Tawargha. Had it not been for the reporting of The Wall Street Journal, these crimes would have been completely unknown to the rest of the world.
The Wall Street Journal reported in its June 21 edition that in Misurata the NATO-insurgents had placed a bounty on the heads of Black Libyans and that one neighborhood that had been four-fifths Black had been emptied of its Black population.
The Journal reported that these crimes were committed by a military unit named “The Brigade to Purge Slaves, black skin.” The Journal quoted an insurgent commander saying that once they reached Tawargha, with a population of 35,000 Black Libyans, they would commit similar retribution against the citizens of that city.
Sure enough, The Wall Street Journal, in a subsequent news report on September 13, after al-Quathafi’s control over Tripoli had collapsed, reported that Tawargha had been emptied of its Black population. The Journal reported that buildings had been burned and that on the walls were scribbled the words “Slaves” and “Negros.”
Women, men and children, non-combatants, were collectively demonized as al-Quathafi supporters therefore all worthy of death.
Up to date, The United Nations, the ICC, The State Department, The White House and NATO have shown no interest in the fate of Black Libyans. Even national organizations that advocate on behalf of Black people such as the NAACP and the Urban League did not utter a word of condemnation.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was the only major elected U.S. official to call for an investigation of what he correctly termed “genocide.”
What’s more, the lack of reaction to the ethnic cleansing is a testament to how low the rest of Africa has been diminished. The entire continent sat back and watched targeted extermination of Black people reminiscent of the old apartheid-era in South Africa and what was then Rhodesia.
Save for The Wall Street Journal, the Libya war crimes were ignored by major media such as The New York Times, The BBC, CNN and Al-Jazeera. All these outlets surrendered journalistic integrity in the pursuit of regime-change.
This editorial page consistently wrote about the crimes by the NATO-insurgents and eventually found out that there was a price to pay.
Ocampo recently visited Libya to deliver, once again, the victors’ justice. He spoke about modalities for prosecuting Saif al-Islam al-Quathafi, the assassinated Libyan ruler’s son. Ocampo never mentioned a word about the war crimes committed by the NATO-insurgents, especially the ones in Misurata and Tawargha against Black Libyans.
Even while Ocampo was in Libya, a UN report was circulating about continuing war crimes by the NATO-regime, including the incarceration of 7,000 people, including women and children; mostly Black. One observer in a coiumn has even speculated that Ocampo may seek to be hired as a consultant by the NATO-regime to advise on a new judicial system.
Ocampo’s main function is to prosecute leaders and ex-leaders designated as enemies of Washington, London, and Paris. In that respect he’s a hit-man. He does not follow the evidence wherever they may lead.
Even though he is a mere tool of the Western powers, including the United States, which is not even a member of the court — he has always had the right and moral obligation to resign in protest if he opposed the Western countries’ abuse of the ICC.
In a normal legitimate judicial system Ocampo would have been removed long ago from office.
Luis Moreno Ocampo politicized and destroyed the ICC. His in-actions and willful disregard of the many crimes around the world in essence also amounts to crimes. On behalf of the victims of the un-prosecuted crimes, may Ocampo live the rest of his days in shame.