The Hague, September 15, 2011 (FH) - As the International Criminal Court prepares to elect a new Prosecutor in December, Human Rights Watch on Thursday released a report highly critical of Luis Moreno Ocampo's strategy. The report, entitled "Unfinished Business", says there are gaps in his investigations and selection of cases and that this has undermined the credibility of the court.

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Moreno Ocampo's nine-year mandate comes to an end in June 2012. Human Rights Watch says that as the ICC's first Prosecutor, his task was bound to be difficult. It adds that he has made important progress, but says investigations and prosecutions have "failed to demonstrate coherent and effective strategies for delivering meaningful justice to affected communities".

HRW has reviewed ICC investigations conducted in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Central African Republic and Darfur, Sudan. The report says that decisions taken in these cases "have already damaged the ICC's credibility  and could undermine its long-term mission to fight against impunity". HRW suggests that the next Prosecutor completes ongoing investigations.

The US-based NGO also regrets that the 11 arrest warrants issued for crimes committed in DRC, Uganda and CAR target only militia leaders. "Our research in Congo, covering the period from 1998 to present, suggests that key political and military figures in Kinshasa, as well as in Uganda and Rwanda, played a prominent role in creating, supporting and arming the militias associated with Lubanga, Ntaganda, Katanga and Ngudjolo," reads the report.

The fact that no arrest warrants in the Ituri case (DRC) have been issued against Ngiti and Lendu rebels has given the  Hema people the impression of "selective justice" on the Prosecutor's part, says HRW, "which may have exacerbated ethnic tensions in Ituri".   

With regard to Darfur, HRW recalls that after charging two mid-level officials, the Prosecutor charged Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir. Five other officials should also have been charged, according to HRW, in order to pursue a coherent strategy.

Since he took up his post in June 2003, Luis Moreno Ocampo has charged 26 suspects. Ten are still on the run, two are dead and charges were dismissed against Darfur rebel Idriss Abou Garda.


© Hirondelle News Agency