State Crimes Of Impunity: Why ICC’s Ocampo Must Resign Promptly

Black Star News Editorial

Prosecutorial Misconduct By ICC Chief?

Now finally The New York Times concedes in an Op-Ed piece what The Black Star News has been saying for years–the International Criminal Court’s Luis Moreno Ocampo is one of the most professionally compromised prosecutors in the world.

East and Central Africa would have been a safer place with less strife had Ocampo never been the ICC Prosecutor or had he resigned years ago. Perpetrators of major crimes in Africa might have been dealt with long ago. Even though his term ends in June, if Ocampo had any self respect, he should step aside now.

Ocampo did fight for and secured indictments of:  Sudan’s Omar Hassan Bashir; the Lord’s Resistance Army’s Joseph Kony; Congo’s Thomas Lubanga; and, Congo’s Jean Pierre Bemba.

Yet Ocampo ignored African leaders who were responsible for the deaths of millions of people through their militaristic policies and confinement of entire ethnic communities in concentrations camps.

Take Uganda’s dictator Gen. Yoweri K. Museveni. Even after Uganda was found liable by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for what amounts to war crimes in Congo –genocide, mass rapes, and plunder of wealth– and even after human rights groups documented the extermination of nearly one million of Uganda’s Acholi ethnic community in concentration camps over a 20 year period Ocampo closed his eyes.

Ocampo has even proven how laughable and unprofessional he is by going around lately praising the already discredited pro-Museveni viral public relations video, KONY2012, by Invisible Children. One wonders whether Ocampo was ever the hero fighter for justice that he supposedly had been in Argentina. Certainly his conduct with respect to Uganda raises many doubts.

Ocampo has also ignored Laurent Nkunda’s crimes in Congo. Nkunda is now a guest of Rwanda’s Gen. Paul Kagame, who, through impressive public relations, marketed himself as Rwanda’s savior: when in fact he is suspected of playing a role in shooting down the plane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi in 1994, sparking the massacres that claimed the lives of an estimated one million Rwandans. The United Nations “Mapping Report” also linked Kagame’s military forces to genocide of Hutus.

Ocampo’s conduct has generated much cynicism and contempt towards the ICC.

There are even questions whether he intentionally undermined the court, which would raise questions as to whether he should be sanctioned even before his term expires.

On June 8, 2006 The Wall Street Journal reported that Ocampo’s senior colleagues at the ICC were appalled when he appeared with Gen. Museveni at a news conference to announce the indictment of the LRA’s Kony. They were aghast because the colleagues were aware that Gen. Museveni himself was a candidate for possible indictment.

Congo had referred to the ICC for investigation, the same crimes for which the ICJ had already found Uganda liable for in 2005 and awarded $10 billion in compensation. The Wall Street Journal reported that Gen. Museveni had contacted then U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and urged him to block the ICC’s investigation.

While Annan responded that he had no such powers to block the investigation, someone else might have obliged: Gen. Museveni remains un-indicted and the ICC has refused to respond to several inquiries from The Black Star News about the status of the ICC’s investigation into alleged crimes by Uganda’s army in Congo.

Elsewhere, Ocampo has offered a preposterous argument, that the ICC can only investigate crimes committed after the Rome Statute, which created the court and came into effect July 1, 2002. Ocampo’s falsehoods do not hold water.

To begin with, Uganda officially did not end its occupation of Congo’s Ituri region until the end of 2003. Even more important and damning, the Ugandan’s effective occupation and crimes continued through its affiliated militias, such as the one commanded by Thomas Lubanga. Of course, Lubanga was subsequently indicted, tried and convicted.

The ICC can’t be taken seriously if it only prosecutes the Lubangas and Konys of Africa while sparing the Musevenis and Kagames.

“Speaking Truth To Empower.”

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