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As Indictment of Bashir Arises at UN, Moreno-Ocampo Accused of Ego and Errors

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, September 22 -- As a range of countries come to the UN General Debate in New York to ask for a suspension of the request by the Prosecutor of International Criminal Court for an arrest warrant against Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir, questions are mounting about ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo. On September 17, a recent Foreign Minister of country that is a major support of the ICC told Inner City Press that Moreno-Ocampo had told countries that he had offered to not indict Al-Bashir if he would turn over two previous indictees, Ali Kushayb and Ahmad Harun. At a September 19 press conference, Richard Dicker of Human Rights Watch answered Inner City Press that such an offer by Moreno-Ocampo, if made, would be "wrong and unprincipled." Video here, from Minute 31:44. "If you have more information, I'm interested," he said. But if as the ex-Foreign Minister said, Moreno-Ocampo bragged out his offer to more than one country, the information will come out, perhaps at an even more inopportune time.

  The Convenor of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, William Pace, after the briefing told Inner City Press that Moreno-Ocampo could be an "egomaniac," specifically in claiming that he had asked African heads of state to refer cases to him. Pace said that not true, the Ugandan's Yoweri Museveni, for example, had decided on his own to refer the Lord's Resistance Army. His own army's crimes, he thought, were largely before the ICC's jurisdiction began in early 2002. Likewise, Democratic Republic of the Congo president Joseph Kabila somehow felt confident that Moreno-Ocampo would never indict him.

Bill Pace and Richard Dicker earlier this year, Moreno-Ocampo errors and ego not shown

   Both during and after the briefing, Richard Dicker of Human Rights Watch, a doctrinal supporter of the ICC, acknowledged that Moreno-Ocampo has made errors. On camera, Dicker called Moreno-Ocampo's failure to turn over potentially exculpatory information to lawyers for DRC militia leader -- and Kabila opponent -- Thomas Lubanga a mistake, that he hopes Moreno-Ocampo has learned from. Video here, from Minute 41:31. Dicker also said that Al-Bashir must have known that UN peacekeeping missions to which he consented would sent information against him to the ICC. As Dicker advised on a related matter, whether South Sudan leaders despite what they say are in favor of the indictment of Al-Bashir, Inner City Press will ask the Sudanese delegation if they know UN Peacekeeping would share information, that in turn would be withhold. Somehow we doubt it.

Watch this site, and this Sept. 18 (UN) debate.

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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

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