Fatou Bensouda Blames Collapse of Kenya Cases to Autocratic Leadership Style of Moreno Ocampo

Fatou Bensouda Blames Collapse of Kenya Cases to Autocratic Leadership Style of Moreno Ocampo

ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda with her predecessor Luis Moreno-Ocampo © ICC-CPI/AP/Bas Czerwinski

International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has blamed the collapse of the Kenyan cases on a “the autocratic leadership style of Luis Gabriel Moreno Ocampo”.

In an official statement on the external expert review and lessons drawn from the Kenya situation, Fatou Bensouda says the failure of the Kenya cases were contributed by:

One, the autocratic leadership style of Prosecutor 1 (Moreno), two, top-heavy, cumbersome decision-making and three, staffing practices.

“These factors undermined the effective functioning of all aspects of these cases,” she says.

The Executive Summary of the Report of the External Independent Experts concludes that: “It may be that the Kenya cases simply reflected the inability of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to adequately respond to the challenges presented in cases against powerful, high level accused willing to engage in concerted propaganda campaigns and pervasive witness interference.”

“Certainly, it would appear the OTP, under Prosecutor 1, underestimated the ability of the powerful suspects/accused in these cases to undermine the integrity of Prosecution evidence, and overestimated the ability of the OTP to effectively address the challenges presented by such conduct.”

The review was conducted by a three-member team— Dior Fall, Robert Reid and Brenda J Hollis who assessed the Office of the Prosecutor’s conduct of the Kenya cases, including a root cause analysis of how the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) conducted its preliminary examination, investigations and prosecutions in the situation.

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In December 2014,  the ICC chief prosecutor withdrew charges of crimes against humanity against President Uhuru Kenyatta. Then, Fatou Bensouda, said the court had denied her more time, and as a result, her office was withdrawing the charges. “The evidence has not improved to such an extent that Mr. Kenyatta’s responsibility can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt,” Ms. Bensouda said.

In April 2016,  the ICC  terminated the case against Kenya’s deputy president William Ruto and his co-accused journalist Joshua Sang and ended his trial, saying there was insufficient evidence that he was involved in the Post Election Violence that erupted after his country’s 2007 presidential elections.

Ruto and Sang had been facing crimes against humanity charges over the 2007/8 post-election violence that left 1,200 dead and at least 600,000 displaced.