[Tuesday, 10 May 2011 10:36] News from Global Peace Support Group
ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo. See no evil, hear no evil?
Is the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo who has announced that he seeks arrest warrants against three Libyan officials a compromised agent of U.S. foreign policy?
Has Ocampo corrupted the lofty ideals of the court when it was created in furtherance of Western, especially U.S., foreign policy? Does he deserve to resign from his post?
Well why not let the evidence of his actions --or lack thereof-- answer these questions.
In 1997, Uganda and Rwanda invaded what was then Zaire to occupy parts of the resource-rich country and to assist Lauren Kabila's rebels in ousting U.S.-backed dictator Mobuttu.
When Kabila, installed as president, wanted to exercise autonomy, Uganda and Rwanda invaded again in 1998 and this time occupied territory and supported insurgent administrations in their respective domains.
The occupation was characterized by massive crimes of war and crimes against humanity: Congolese were massacred; there was mass rape of both men and women --in Uganda Yoweri Museveni's army had earlier been accused of mass rapes of men in militarily contested areas by soldiers known to be HIV-positive-- Congolese were burned alive in their homes; and, there was massive looting of Congo's mineral and natural wealth.
Eventually, Congo referred the alleged crimes to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). After a trial the court found Uganda liable for the crimes outlined and awarded Congo $10 billion in compensation.
Joseph Kabila, who had succeeded his father, referred the crimes to the ICC for criminal investigation. Most observers believed that using the same set of facts reviewed by the ICJ, the ICC would arrive at the same conclusion: and that arrest warrants would eventually be sought by Ocampo for Uganda's military leadership, including commander in chief Gen. Yoweri K. Museveni.
In fact, Gen. Museveni himself knew the dangers he faced. According to an article published on June 8, 2006 in The Wall Street Journal, Gen. Museveni contacted then U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and urged him to block the investigation. Annan, according to the article, said he had no such powers.
Ocampo, as far as is known, has not sought warrants against Uganda's top military leadership.
He basked in media light in a joint press conference with Gen. Museveni to announce the indictment of the leaders of the vicious Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), who do deserve to be brought to justice. Possibly anticipating that the ICC would eventually indict Gen. Museveni, Ocampo's colleagues at the court had objected to his appearance side by side with the Ugandan president.
The natural question is, given the closeness of Ocampo to Museveni, has the ICC prosecutor stymied the investigation The Wall Street Journal reported on?
The crimes committed in the Congo --an estimated seven million people have perished as a result of the Uganda and Rwanda occupations which spawned perpetual conflict there-- make the LRA's pale by comparison.
The United Nations "mapping report" has also documented these and earlier crimes committed in the Congo by Uganda's and Rwanda's forces.
Also in the Congo, Rwanda's viceroy was the pathological mass murderer of Congolese, "general" Laurent Nkunda -- his forces killed so many Congolese that even his sponsor Rwanda's Paul Kagame became concerned and eventually disarmed him and placed him under "house" arrest.
Ocampo has not sought the indictment and arrest of Nkunda who remains protected by Rwanda in relative luxury.
Ocampo did aggressively and successfully seek the indictment of the Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
Ocampo's "indictments" are clearly selective. They spare alleged criminals such as leaders supported by the United States, and only target alleged criminals that are in conflict with the United States.
There will be no justice for the victims of alleged criminals such as Museveni, Kagame and Nkunda under Ocampo's watch.
The news last week that Ocampo will target Libya's leaders therefore fits the pattern even as leaders in nearby Syria mow down people in a popular uprising. Ocampo won't act unless the U.S. designates leaders of Syria as "bad guys."
We pose the questions again:
Has Ocampo profaned the ICC's initial lofty ideals to protect ordinary people around the world against crimes of war and crimes against humanity committed with impunity? Is the ICC now merely an instrument of and enforcer of Western foreign policy? Should Ocampo resign?
The reader can draw her or his own conclusion.