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Luis Moreno-Ocampo

Luis Moreno Ocampo (born 4 June 1952) is an Argentine lawyer who has been the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) since 16 June 2003. He previously worked as a prosecutor in Argentina, famously combating corruption and prosecuting human rights abuses by senior military officials. He has also lectured in criminal law and practiced law privately.

Career in Argentina

Moreno Ocampo graduated from the University of Buenos Aires Law School in 1978, and from 1980 to 1984 he worked as a law clerk in the office of the Solicitor General.

From 1984 to 1992, Moreno Ocampo worked as a prosecutor in Argentina. He first came to public attention in 1985, as Assistant Prosecutor in the "Trial of the Juntas"the first time since the Nuremberg Trials that senior military commanders were prosecuted for mass killings. Nine senior commanders, including three former heads of state, were prosecuted and five of them were convicted. He served as District Attorney for the Federal Circuit of the City of Buenos Aires from 1987 to 1992, during which time he prosecuted the military commanders responsible for the Falklands War, the leaders of two military rebellions, and dozens of high-profile corruption cases. In 1987, he helped United States prosecutors extradite General Guillermo Suarez Mason to Argentina.

He resigned as a prosecutor in 1992 and established a private law firm, Moreno Ocampo & Wortman Jofre. He defended several controversial figures, including Diego Maradona, former economics minister Domingo Cavallo, and a priest accused of sexually abusing minors. He represented the victims in extradition proceedings against Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke, and also in the trial of the murderer of Chilean General Carlos Prats.

During this time, he was also an Associate Professor of criminal law at the University of Buenos Aires and a visiting professor at Stanford University and Harvard Law School. He has acted as a consultant to the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations. He is a former member of the advisory board of Transparency International and a former president of its Latin America and Caribbean office.

During the late 1990s, he starred in a reality television programme, Forum, la corte del pueblo, in which he arbitrated private disputes.

The International Criminal Court

On 21 April 2003, Moreno Ocampo was elected unopposed as the first Prosecutor of the new International Criminal Court. He was sworn in for a nine-year term on 16 June 2003. As of February 2009, he has opened investigations into four situations: Northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and Darfur. The court has issued public arrest warrants for twelve people; six of them remain free, two have died, and four are in custody.

Moreno Ocampo also led an investigation against leaders of the Lords Resistance Army, who in 2005 faced arrest warrants by the ICC for crimes against humanity. In October 2006 a media spokesman in the prosecutors office filed an internal complaint accusing Moreno Ocampo of sexual misconduct. A panel of three ICC judges investigated the complaint and found that it was "manifestly unfounded" but Moreno Ocampo generated a controversy when he summarily dismissed the staff member who made the complaint. The Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization subsequently awarded the employee almost 120,000 in damages, ruling that Moreno Ocampo had breached due process and seriously infringed the employee's rights. The ILO held that the original complaint against Moreno Ocampo had been made in good faith, and that Moreno Ocampo should not have participated in the decision to fire the employee as he had a personal interest in the matter.

Moreno Ocampo directed an investigation against Germain Katanga and Matthieu Ngudjolo Chui,who received arrest warrants in 2007 and 2008 respectively for crimes against humanity in the Democratic Republic of Congo.In March 2008, according to an Argentine online news report, Moreno Ocampo explained the FARC, the largest guerrilla group in Colombia, was plausible for an investigation by the International Criminal Court.Moreno Ocampo began implementing preliminary tests in Colombia, which involved evaluating prosecutions of paramilitary commanders in Colombia, interviews with victims of the FARC, among others.Moreno Ocampo explained the FARC could be investigated for crimes against humanity.He paid a visit to Colombia in August, after which the ICC launched an investigation on the support network for FARC rebels outside Colombia.

The ICC's first trial, of Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga, was suspended on 13 June 2008 when the court ruled that the Prosecutor's refusal to disclose potentially exculpatory material had breached Lubanga's right to a fair trial. The Prosecutor had obtained the evidence from the United Nations and other sources on the condition of confidentiality, but the judges ruled that the Prosecutor had incorrectly applied the relevant provision of the Rome Statute and, as a consequence, "the trial process has been ruptured to such a degree that it is now impossible to piece together the constituent elements of a fair trial". On 2 July 2008, the court ordered Lubanga's release, on the grounds that "a fair trial of the accused is impossible, and the entire justification for his detention has been removed", but an Appeal Chamber agreed to keep him in custody while the Prosecutor appealed. By 18 November 2008, Moreno Ocampo had agreed to make all the confidential information available to the court, so the Trial Chamber reversed its decision and ordered that the trial could go ahead, but Moreno Ocampo was widely criticised for his actions. David Pallister (18 August 2008). " Human rights: Growing clamour to remove the Hague prosecutor who wants Sudanese president arrested". The Guardian. Retrieved on 3 February 2009.The Economist (11 December 2008). " Sudanese justice begins at home". Retrieved on 3 February 2009.

He was also criticised for his decision in July 2008 to publicly charge Omar al-Bashir, the President of Sudan, with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Antonio Cassese, Rony BraumanRony Brauman (23 July 2008). " The ICC's Bashir Indictment: Law Against Peace". World Politics Review. Retrieved on 3 February 2009. and Alex de Waal argued that there was insufficient evidence to charge al-Bashir with genocide. Cassese, a former President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, had chaired the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, which concluded in 2005 that the government of Sudan had not pursued a policy of genocide in Darfur. De Waal argued that "for nineteen years, President Bashir has sat on top of a government that has been responsible for incalculable crimes [...] Two weeks ago, Moreno Ocampo succeeded in accusing Bashir of the crime for which he is not guilty. That is a remarkable feat." Cassese also argued that if Moreno Ocampo were serious about prosecuting al-Bashir, he should have issued a sealed request and asked the judges to issue a sealed arrest warrant, to be made public only once al-Bashir traveled abroad, instead of publicly requesting the warrant, allowing al-Bashir to avoid arrest simply by remaining in Sudan.In November 2008, Moreno Ocampo requested arrest warrants for rebels responsible for the murder of members from an international peacekeeping force in Darfur.

Leaders from three Darfur tribes, said to be the victims of war crimes, sued Ocampo for libel, defamation and igniting hatred and tribalism.

External links

International Criminal Court: Office of the Prosecutor

"Farmers and Chickens" An interview with Luis Moreno Ocampo by Guernica Magazine's Joel Whitney

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