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Ocampo Analogizes Darfur to Auschwitz, As Bashir's Invited to Doha, Free Press Question on Kenya Witness

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 5 -- Outgoing International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo bragged Monday that Kuwait, a non member of the ICC, is saying the Syria and Bashar al Assad should be referred to the ICC.

  But elsewhere in the Gulf, as Ocampo should know but didn't say, ICC indictee Omar al Bashir of Sudan had been invited to Doha, Qatar for a conference of the UN International Telecommunications Union. So has international justice progressed in the Gulf? Or in the UN?

  Inner City Press asked Ocampo about photographs with Bashir recently taken by the UN - Africa Union envoy to Darfur Ibrahim Gambari, and about a draft General Assembly resolution which would urge Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to discourage such contacts, which have included the UN flying ICC indictee Ahmed Haroun into Abyei, where later civilians were killed.

  Ocampo replied that if you were a Darfur victim, you wouldn't like to see photos of Gambari with Bashir. But why go so soft on the UN, Gambari and Ban Ki-moon?

(From the draft GA resolution, Inner City Press first reported, the language urging that UN limit contacts with ICC indictees is set to be stripped. Its proponents say it was noticed just be being proposed. But when Inner City Press asked for Ban Ki-moon comment on it, there was nothing.)

  Ocampo is a political animal: he knows which prosecutions are popular. Inner City Press asked him to comment on the new International Commission of Inquiry report on Libya, which details killings not only by Gaddafi forces, but also his opponents, and at least 60 by NATO.

Last time he spoke at the UN, Ocampo said "wait for the report of the International Commission of Inquiry." Now that it is out, and Inner City Press read to him from it, Ocampo says there is a Human Rights Council session on March 9, that his office will go to Libya in April and that he'll be back at the UN in May. And?

  Inner City Press asked Ocampo about reports that his office told Ugandan David Matsanga to remove from the Internet video of what purports to be a recanting Witness Number 4 in Ocampo's Kenya case. Ocampo said the defendants can appeal, but there should be no witness tampering. Inner City Press asked if Ocampo sees any tension between his position and freedom of the press.

   Matsanga "is not your colleague," Ocampo told Inner City Press. But when a court tries to order the removal of testimony from the Internet, it impinges on free speech -- even or especially if the publisher is unpopular.

(c) UN Photo
Ocampo oversees former Sudan PR, toolbox of double standards not shown

Footnote: Ocampo analogized the camps in Darfur to Auschwitz; he said that in 2004 when Kofi Annan went to Darfur, his translator was Ahmed Haroum, later to be indicted for war crimes. With Kofi Annan now the envoy to Syria, one expects this won't be the end of that anecdote. Watch this site.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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