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October 23, 2017

I will cooperate, Ocampo tells Bensouda as ICC starts internal probe

Luis Ocampo with his successor Fatou Bensouda at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, June 2012. /REUTERS
Luis Ocampo with his successor Fatou Bensouda at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, June 2012. /REUTERS

Former ICC prosecutor Luis Ocampo has said he is not under investigation over an alleged leakage of confidential information to a war criminal in Libya.

Ocampo has however offered to help with the probe following the allegations.

In a letter to chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, he notes he is willing to help the Internal Oversight Mechanism (IOM) at the court unravel the case.

"I noted that you requested full cooperation to establish the facts. I want to support the inquiry," Ocampo said on Thursday.

"By the IOM's own standards, it cannot take into consideration information obtained by criminal means, but I can provide some documents and explanations to clarify the allegations."

Last Friday, documents at the ICC indicated Ocampo allegedly leaked confidential information to a Libyan warlord.

The documents showed he secretly advised the suspect, a close ally to former Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, for purposes of helping him escape justice at The Hague-based court.

He was allegedly paid Sh309 million ($3 million) over three years.

Read: Storm at ICC as Bensouda's staff probed over Ocampo, Gaddafi bribery claims

Ocampo has refuted the claims saying none of the advice he has rendered since leaving office in June 2012 was in conflict of interest with the court's operations.

He said the advice did not interfere with the court's work or any of its officials and that it was not based on any internal or confidential information.

"Specifically, my advice, on the possibility that alleged crimes committed by different parties of  Libya's conflict that started in 2014 were going to be investigated by the ICC, was exclusively based on your public statement before the UN Security Council presented on May 12, 2015,' Ocampo told Bensouda.

He said he is willing to provide information to the IOM to prove information he used to offer his advice was public.

"Similarly, if my client authories me, I will provide documents from 2015 showing the scope of my advice in this conflict focused on how citizens could assist to investigate the crimes committed by the different parties to prevent violence."

During his nine year tenure as ICC Chief Prosecutor, Ocampo was tasked with hunting down the world's worst war criminals and bringing them to trial.

He had 300 employees at his disposal to help him conduct investigations in war zones and issue arrest warrants against heads of government.

Among his tasks was to investigate the Libyan civil war that broke out in February 2011 and led to the downfall and the consequent murder of Gaddafi by rebel forces on October 20 the same year.

The documents at the ICC indicated Ocampo advised Hassan Tatanaki, a dubious Libyan oil billionaire and former supporter of the Gaddafi regime, who was deeply involved in the Libyan civil war.

In his letter, Ocampo called for the expansion of the scope of an internal probe that has been launched into a hacking allegation at the court.

He says the document on the alleged bribery claims against him relied on information obtained from professional emails and confidential communication sent through the official ICC IT system during his tenure.

"I learned through the presidency's statement that in the court’s assessment, the electronic system was not tampered with by the hack. As a consequence, the internal inquiry should also analyse whether someone with access to the official ICC IT system provided such emails to those who are presenting the allegations," Ocampo said.

"If this was the case, it could represent a breach of confidential duties that should be investigated. I can provide further information on this aspect or any other aspect if required."

Some of the high profile cases Ocampo handled were on Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.

He has however been criticised many times for having trouble concluding his cases in legally watertight ways.

 

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