Former prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno Ocampo is back on the spot for his alleged behind-the-scenes manoeuvres to help high profile suspects escape trial.
Some of the high-profile cases, leaked documents analysed by respected media outlets— including Germany’s Der Spiegel, a French investigative website Mediapart, a leading Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad and European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) among others— include the Kenyan post-election violence cases.
The current Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has put two of her staff on investigation related to the Ocampo affair following the publication of contents of some 40,000 leaked ICC-related documents.
“As prosecutor, I view such allegations with concern and take them very seriously. I have reported the allegations implicating two members of my staff to the Independent Oversight Mechanism (IOM) available to the court within its legal framework. The IOM has determined that the matter will proceed to a full investigation,” Ms Bensouda said in a statement on Thursday.
“As this matter unfolds and the allegations are fairly and properly scrutinised, speculation should not be entertained. Rather, the procedures and processes in place aimed at establishing the facts must be respected, with full cooperation with the investigation, as required.”
Contents of the leaked documents paint a picture of Mr Ocampo more of a hatchet man rather than the boisterous, independent prosecutor many came to believe, especially with the indictment of high-profile figures including President Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto, former Commissioner of Police Hussein Ali, former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura and former Cabinet Minister Henry Kosgey.
It was also during Mr Ocampo’s era that the ICC issued warrants of arrest against Sudan President Omar al Bashir.
“The documents paint a picture of a chief prosecutor who is compliant, craves attention, accepts conflicts of interest and apparently has a problem with money. For years Ocampo, a self-avowed champion for transparency, owned companies in several tax havens,” Spiegel says in its report.
According to the reports, Mr Ocampo is alleged to have been using his prior connections as ICC prosecutor to direct the way the Office of the Prosecutor should conduct itself in regard to some high profile cases.
The contacts include staff still working at the ICC and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to give “an honourable exit” to one of the prominent Kenyans who was charged with crimes against humanity following the 2007/08 post-election violence.
All these manoeuvres, the reports suggest, were being done behind Ms Bensouda’s back, which could mean the former prosecutor was undercutting his successor.
“My office has already stated, in response to media queries, that it has not initiated contact, sought advice or collaborated with the former ICC Prosecutor, Mr Ocampo, in relation to any of the situations or cases being handled by the Office or the court since I assumed office as prosecutor,” Ms Bensouda said.
“I have, in the past, personally made my position on this clear to Mr Ocampo and have asked him, in unequivocal terms, to refrain from any public pronouncement or activity that may, by virtue of his prior role as ICC prosecutor, be perceived to interfere with the activities of the Office or harm its reputation.”
The reports also make serious allegations of Mr Ocampo entering into a deal near the end of his term where he was apparently to be paid $3 million (Sh300 million) to advise Hassan Tatanaki, “a dubious Libyan oil billionaire and former supporter of the Gadhafi regime who is deeply involved in the Libyan civil war,” Spiegel Online reports.
BRIEF CASE FIRM
“Ocampo even used insider information to protect his client from possible prosecution by the ICC. In doing so, one could argue, he betrayed the ideals and spirit of the court,” the German weekly says in its report published on Thursday.
The money, according to the report, was to be transferred to Mr Ocampo’s briefcase company— Transparent Markets— in Montevideo, Uruguay. Spiegel further reports that the former prosecutor’s family had offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands, Panama and Belize in the past.
Mr Ocampo was the first ICC prosecutor since the court began functioning on July 1, 2002.
He left the court having served his non-renewable term of nine years in 2012 and was succeeded by his former deputy, Ms Bensouda.