Ocampo’s Very Convenient Alibi: ICC prosecutor warns cash cuts put probes at risk

 

Ocampo shaking hands with human right abuser, Alassane Ouattara

Now that Moreno-Ocampo’s partiality has been exposed and that he is being pressured to look at human right abuses on both sides of the Ivorian crisis, the ICC prosecutor suddenly warns that budget cut might force him to focus his investigations on President Gbagbo alone. This convenient alibi comes just days after Ocampo and his successor Bensouda have met in New York Sarkozy’s protégé Soro Guillaume, who, along with Alassane Ouatara, is regarded by many as a criminal and human right abuser in the Ivorian crisis, and who, for fairness in the legal process, should also be indicted by the ICC. Ocampo’s despicable excuse continues to give Soro’s armed forces license to kill with impunity. Just yesterday, Soro’s hoodlums massacred 6 unarmed civilians in Vavoua. They must have been told that for budgetary reasons, they would never be prosecuted.

AFP Global Edition

Dec 17, 2011 14:59 EST

International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo warned on Saturday that proposed budget cuts wanted by western countries could hit investigations in Libya and Ivory Coast.

Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan — the main contributors among the 120 member states — are pressing for cuts to the prosecutors’ budget in a vote to be held Monday at the ICC annual meeting in New York.

Moreno-Ocampo said he may have to halt probes into mass rapes blamed on Moamer Kadhafi’s forces in Libya and mass killings in Ivory Coast, some by rebel groups linked to the new government.

« If they decide to reduce the budget, there will be less cases and less investigations, » Moreno-Ocampo told AFP.

« With no money maybe the court will look less impartial, » he warned while insisting that the ICC would live with any decision taken Monday.

« We are public servants so we deal with it in accordance with the rules and the budget. »

The main contributors, looking for global spending cuts because of the financial crisis, want an effective cut in the overall ICC budget from 111 million euros ($145 million) this year to about 104 million euros.

Moreno-Ocampo had sought an extra 1.5 million euros for Libya investigations and 1.7 million euros for Ivory Coast.

Libya is considering challenging ICC jurisdiction to try Kadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam — now in detention in Libya — but former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo is now held at the tribunal in The Hague on crimes against humanity charges.

« I will focus on Gbagbo but I cannot do the rebel forces, » Moreno-Ocampo said.

« I don’t know whether Libya will challenge the jurisdiction so I am continuing the investigation. Without this money I don’t know whether I can continue the current investigation of rapes and I don’t know if I can investigate the rebel sides. »

The Libya investigation was called for by the UN Security Council.

Japan hopes to save 1.5 million euros in its ICC contribution, Germany one million euros, Britain about 800,000 euros and France 750,000 euros, according to negotiators.

« This year it is not just a money issue it is a political issue. How much interest they have in global justice and the prevention of crime through justice, » said Moreno-Ocampo, who stressed the ICC’s role in deterring conflict.

Policymakers, he said, must « understand that it should not be in the hands of accountants, it should be a decision by policy makers. »

Moreno-Ocampo was supported by Human Rights Watch.

« Slashing the budget lines for Libya and Ivory Coast effectively kneecaps the prosecutor’s investigation in both countries, » said Richard Dicker, international justice specialist for the rights group.

Western diplomats said negotiations on the ICC budget were ongoing. They acknowledged the hard line and insisted it was dictated by harsh economic conditions.

« There are questions about budget management that have to be dealt with but this has to be dealt with so that the tribunal can carry out its crucial work, » one diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

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One Response to Ocampo’s Very Convenient Alibi: ICC prosecutor warns cash cuts put probes at risk

  1. shude says:

    Now this is what Ocampo said « I will focus on Gbagbo but I cannot do the rebel forces, » http://www.rnw.nl/international-justice/article/icc-prosecutor-warns-agains t-budget-cuts

    There are reasons to believe that ICC is doing more politics than justice Is this part of a deal he discussed with Soro, the rebels chief in Ivory Coast last week? This is shameful. The rebels have been killing Ivorians for more than 10 years, now he find an alibi for not prosecuting them. This is just disgusting. they caught the guy (Gbagbo), they have been chasing for years, now they are done, no more justice is necessary for the other victims). Now, how it comes that to arrest Gbagbo, they have been so fast and surely have not spent a huge amount of money and for the rebels where there are so many already documented cases against them, he can’t do anything. We want justice for all and all the criminals must be prosecuted!

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