Former ICC prosecutor on the spot over Kenyan cases

Former ICC prosecutor on the spot over Kenyan cases

Former International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, is on the spot for allegedly negotiating a secret termination of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s case at the Hague-based court, to save face over shoddy investigations.

An elaborate probe by media partners in Europe now reveal that Ocampo, months after he left office and passed the baton to Fatou Bensouda, spearheaded a plan to withdraw President Kenyatta’s charges by blaming the Kenyan government for failing to cooperate with the court, before the judges could terminate the case for lack of evidence.

In 2010 when he opted to investigate events leading to the 2007/2008 post election skirmishes, the then ICC prosecutor had promised robust prosecution against the alleged perpetrators and financiers of the chaos, to serve as a lesson for other would-be warlords.

Four years later, however, the cases he had initiated against 6 Kenyan suspects collapsed in quick succession, dashing hopes of justice for the post election violence victims. Three years after the cases came to a halt, an investigation by European media partners unearthed what was termed ‘a major judicial fiasco’, and put Ocampo on the spot, for failing to bring to account instigators of the events that almost brought Kenya on its knees.

The investigation also revealed that Ocampo, after leaving the ICC, had initiated a secret campaign to offer President Kenyatta what he described as an ‘honorable exit’ from the crimes against humanity proceedings he was facing at the international court.

For Ocampo, according to the media probe, was about saving his image, and that of the ICC prosecution team, after realizing that the cases he filed were anchored on weak evidence, which could not meet the threshold for proving culpability on any of the suspects.

The probe further reveals that even after leaving the ICC, Ocampo continued to closely follow events of the Kenyan cases, with Sara Criscitelli, a prosecution lawyer, believed to being his contact person. Through Criscitelli, Ocampo urged his successor Fatou Bensouda to keep the cases open, and push for postponement of the trial, blaming the Kenyan government for non-cooperation.

Ocampo is alleged to have contacted former United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Kofi Annan, in October 2013, to find an exit for President Kenyatta, following the Kenyan government’s pressure at the UN Security Council and the Assembly of State Parties, for termination of the cases, for lack of evidence. The plan seemed to pay off, after Ocampo’s meeting with Kenya’s top envoy in New York, Macharia Kamau, in December 2013.

Two months later, Bensouda convinced the trial judges to postpone Kenyatta’s trial for alleged lack of cooperation by the Kenyan government. His charges were withdrawn in December 2014, and five months later, his deputy, William Ruto, and former radio presenter, Joshua Arap Sang, were cleared off their charges.

The Ocampo leaks by the European media partners reveals the former prosecutor’s shoddy investigations into the Kenyan cases, despite hogging publicity and spending millions of dollars, in procurement of witnesses.

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Story By Francis Gachuri
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