By Thomas Verfuss
After his tenure as chief prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno Ocampo tried to provide an “honourable exit” to Uhuru Kenyatta from his case in The Hague. This is what the leading Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad alleges in an article published Wednesday night.
NRC is part of a consortium of media from different countries that say that they have had access to 40,000 leaked ICC-related documents. Journalists For Justice has not seen the leaked documents.
NRC concludes that in 2013, after “Uhuruto” won the elections, Ocampo lost faith in the prosecutions which he had initiated himself. The Office of The Prosecutor at the ICC led by Ocampo’s successor Fatou Bensouda had to admit in front of the judges in The Hague that it was losing its witnesses, due to intimidation or worse.
Ocampo decided that a solution had to be found that would limit the damage to the reputation of everyone involved with the case. But Kenya would have to take the blame for the failure of the two trials, not Ocampo or Bensouda.
In October 2013, NRC says, Ocampo wrote an email to Kofi Annan, who had been the chief mediator during the 2007/08 post-election crisis in Kenya, saying: “It is time to look for an honourable exit for Kenyatta.” NRC alleges that Ocampo proposed that Annan send an envoy to the ICC: “An African, but not a lawyer.” Annan proposed to wait and see.
LMO is said to have interfered with the work of his successor by writing to one of her staff members, Sara Criscitelli, saying: “Several people tell me that the evidence is gone. […] When there is no evidence, a prosecutor does not go to the judges.”
A month later, according to NRC, Ocampo suggested to the Kenyan ambassador to the United Nations (UN) that Kenyatta’s accountability could be dealt with “in an alternative way”. Kenyatta should initiate reparations for victims.
In a reaction, Bensouda’s office said to NRC that she was “not familiar with Ocampo’s plan for an exit strategy” for Kenyatta.
LMO himself did not want to respond to the allegations, NRC says.