How Ocampo bungled justice for post-vote violence victims

The claim by the International Criminal Court that Kenya was not cooperative during the hearing of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s case on crimes against humanity was an attempt by the court to save face. 

This is according to a French investigative website, Media Part, which has obtained over 40,000 documents some of which reveal that former ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo had a hand in the ruling of President Kenyatta’s case. 

In a report, how former prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo played behind the scenes in the failure to bring justice to thousands who died in Kenyan political violence, the online publication said Mr Ocampo advised one of the lawyers to denounce Kenya’s lack of cooperation and request a postponement of the case. 

“Blame them [Kenya] before they blame the prosecutor, we need to defend the office of the prosecutor.

“If they filed before us that the case should be dismissed for lack of evidence we will be badly exposed,” a leaked email by Mr Ocampo sent to Sara Criscitelli, who works in ICC, reads.

EVIDENCE

However, Kenya’s Attorney-General at the time brushed off the claims urging ICC to stop showing contempt for Kenya’s judicial order. 

He also asked Ms Fatou Bensouda to show Kenya mutual respect, professional recognition and realise that it is not a failed state. 

Mr Ocampo is blamed for interfering with the case despite leaving the court on June 2012. 

Surprisingly on December 2014, the court said it had decided to withdraw President Kenyatta’s case for lack of evidence blaming it on lack of cooperation by the Kenyan Government. 

BENSOUDA

Ms Bensouda said that she encountered hurdles while attempting to get the government to cooperate, affecting the course of justice for the victims in the case.

The publication further claims that on February 2013, Ms Bensouda contacted Mr Ocampo to discuss the Kenyan issue. 

In an official tweet by European Investigative Collaborations seen by the Sunday Nation, Ms Bensouda sent an email to Mr Ocampo asking to meet him before a conference to discuss before President Kenyatta’s case took place. 

“Thanks again Luis, I will arrange to call you as soon as possible. The chamber has called for a status conference on the 5th in the Kenyatta case, I would like us to speak before then if it is okay with you,” an email purported to be sent by Ms Bensouda to Mr Ocampo reads. 

COMMUNICATION

However, in a statement released early this month, Ms Bensouda rubbished claims that she has ever sought any advice from Mr Ocampo in any of the cases. 

“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,” part of the statement read. 

It is said that Mr Ocampo, who currently works in a private practice in a New York law firm, had in 2012 encouraged his former colleagues at ICC to push forward the case against Kenyatta despite lack of evidence. 

However, Mr Ocampo changed tune when President Kenyatta went ahead and won the presidency in 2013. 

FREE

The publication claims that Mr Ocampo interfered after President Kenyatta’s win asking the prosecution to give him “an honourable exit” from the trial due to the fact it was a “weak case”. 

In an email sent to the former United Nations General Secretary Kofi Annan who had been appointed by the African Union to head up a dialogue and reconciliation process for Kenya, Mr Ocampo says that its time President Kenyatta is let free. 

“I think it is time to find an honourable exit for Kenyatta,” Mr Ocampo tells the peace negotiator, in an incredible reversal of his previous position. 

This is later followed by a postponement of President Kenyatta’s trial that was scheduled for November 12, 2013. 

COMPENSATION

The following day at a reception in New York Mr Ocampo discusses the exit strategy of President Kenyatta with Mr Macharia Kamau, a Kenyan Permanent Representative to the US.

It is in this meeting that Mr Kamau tells Mr Ocampo that he had contacted one of President Kenyatta’s brothers to meet him in New York.  

However, it is not clear whether this brother who is not mentioned in the reports met with Mr Ocampo. 

In the meeting with Ambassador Kamau, the publication claims that Mr Ocampo advised that President Kenyatta should offer reparations to all victims. 

Ms Bensouda said that she encountered hurdles while attempting to get the government to cooperate.

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