In­ves­ti­gat­ing Ocampo, and why we didn’t ask the right ques­tions

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - OPINION -

As­tory by Kipchumba Some pub­lished on Satur­day on how the Kenyan cases dam­aged the rep­u­ta­tion of for­mer ICC chief pros­e­cu­tor Luis Moreno Ocampo, now the CEO of global con­sult­ing firm Moreno Ocampo LLC based in New York, iden­ti­fied El­iz­a­beth

Brown as his sec­re­tary. She has writ­ten to say she is his ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, not sec­re­tary, and de­manded a cor­rec­tion. This is an in­di­ca­tion of how peo­ple, rightly, se­ri­ously take er­rors con­cern­ing their per­son.

But this piece is not about Ms Brown. It’s about Mr Ocampo and in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism. In­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism is re­port­ing of con­cealed or un­known in­for­ma­tion that of­ten re­quires per­sis­tent and un­tir­ing dig­ging and search­ing.

The scale and scope varies depend­ing on the sub­ject mat­ter, the pur­pose of the story, as well as the ca­pac­ity and re­sources avail­able to the jour­nal­ist. For ex­am­ple, Mr Some wrote his story af­ter un­suc­cess­fully try­ing to in­ter­view Mr Ocampo in New York in April this year while he was a stu­dent at Columbia Univer­sity. Af­ter sev­eral emails, Mr Some re­ceived a re­sponse from Ms Brown, say­ing Mr Ocampo would not grant him an in­ter­view.

Mr Some wanted to get his views on why his case against the Ocampo Six — who in­cluded Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta and his deputy

Wil­liam Ruto — col­lapsed. Mr Ocampo is now the sub­ject of a more sus­tained and well-funded in­ves­ti­ga­tion by a group of mainly Euro­pean jour­nal­ists. The jour­nal­ists have com­bined re­sources un­der the Court Se­crets project that has brought to­gether over 20 jour­nal­ists in 11 coun­tries in Europe and Africa. Court Se­crets is now pub­lish­ing a se­ries of ar­ti­cles that have painted Mr Ocampo as deeply tainted.

They are in­ves­ti­gat­ing Mr Ocampo’s pros­e­cu­tion pol­icy and ac­tions, in­clud­ing his han­dling of the Kenyan cases. In con­trast, while he was pros­e­cut­ing the cases, Mr Ocampo was li­onised in Kenya. When he vis­ited in 2009 he was re­ceived by Pres­i­dent Mwai Kibaki and Prime Raila Odinga. His pic­ture adorned mata­tus. A pop­u­lar singer com­posed a song in his praise. At the Nairobi An­i­mal Or­phan­age, he adopted a chee­tah and named it Ocampo. The me­dia in Kenya did not have the ca­pac­ity or the will to in­ves­ti­gate the way he pros­e­cuted the Ocampo Six although there were some brave at­tempts. Take Jeff Koinange’s 43-minute tele­vi­sion in­ter­view at a bench in the ICC Square in The Hague pub­lished on April 10, 2011. “Wow! What a guest! What a show! What a place! What a park! What a Hague! What a pros­e­cu­tor!” Mr Koinange said in his usual bom­bast at the con­clu­sion of the in­ter­view.

“You sim­ply can­not get a fine guest like Luis Ocampo any­where else but right here on this bench in this town on your award-win­ning sta­tion K24 where we are, even in the times of the Ocampo Six, all Kenyan… ” Look­ing into the cam­era with his bushy eye­brows, trimmed white beard, sly smile and half­squint­ing eyes, Mr Ocampo com­pleted the homily: “All the time!” Mr Koinange then burst with mirth­ful laugh­ter. “Good job!” he said

It was, in­deed, a good at­tempt, if not a good job, on the part of Mr Koinange. He asked the right ques­tions, in­clud­ing why Mr Ocampo so con­ve­niently came up with an equal num­ber of sus­pects from the po­lit­i­cal di­vide — three from ODM and three from PNU — and why he did not go for the top lead­er­ship, Kibaki and Odinga. Mr Ocampo gave slick an­swers.

We now know that Mr Ocampo was not the knight in shin­ing ar­mour. Rev­e­la­tions show his de­par­ture from ICC did not stop him from push­ing the court to pros­e­cute the Ocampo Six de­spite a lack of ev­i­dence and un­re­li­able wit­nesses. And when Uhuru Keny­atta was elected pres­i­dent he op­er­ated be­hind the scenes to of­fer him “an hon­ourable exit”. He is also ac­cused of im­pro­pri­ety with re­gard to other African cases and ben­e­fit­ing his bank bal­ance af­ter leav­ing the ICC.

Mr Ocampo has de­nied any im­pro­pri­ety. Whether he is guilty or not, Court Se­crets shows the power of in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism.

PETER MWAURA In­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism...of­ten re­quires per­sis­tent and un­tir­ing dig­ging and search­ing.”

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