Moreno Ocampo, tired but determined


Thijs Bouwknegt is a producer with Radio Netherlands Worldwide and has been granted exclusive 24-hour access to ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo on his 5-day visit to Kenya.

Here, he shares a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Ocampo after the first day of his visit on Saturday.

After a long day of work prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo returns to his hotel in Nairobi. He sits down at the table of his air-conditioned, chilly room. He eats a few nuts and drinks his soda. I think he must be exhausted, but the impressions of his first day in Kenya are still buzzing in his mind.

He arrived this morning at six o’clock at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Only four hours later, he gave his first press conference which was broadcast live on national television. There was even a TV crew outside waiting to film him when he left.

Ocampo impressed me. He didn’t really talk to us journalists. He is on a mission. And that mission is to “reach the average Kenyan”.

And he will do everything in his power to meet the high expectations of Kenyans…people who witnessed awful bloodshed during the post-election violence in 2007-2008. “I will do what I promise. I will present at least two cases. That is what I will do. Don’t expect more.”

What left the deepest impression on him today?

In the early afternoon, Ocampo spoke to 30 victims from all over the country, people who lost their daughters and sons or an arm or a leg: “It was so interesting for me to better understand the fear they still feel.”

He says his court in The Hague can help them. But today he told the victims that there is also the possibility that the judges will hear cases in Arusha, right across the border in Tanzania. The prosecutor was surprised to hear from all of them that they would prefer the trials to be held in The Hague. “The Hague has become the capital of justice, and people want their cases to be tried there,” Ocampo says.

Tomorrow will be another busy day for the prosecutor who has been sleeping in airplanes for the last three nights. But even the prosecutor of the world’s most famous court is tired. He is going to have something to drink and then he’s off to bed.

I’m tired too. But I am just as impressed now as I was this morning about Ocampo\’s desire to tell Kenya and the world about the need for peace and justice. I’m curious to see what he has to say tomorrow.

(Thijs Bouwknegt is one of Radio Netherlands Worldwide\’s reporters on international justice and human rights. After completing his Master\’s degree in non-western history and his Bacherlor\’s Degree in international law, he joined RNW as a journalist. For RNW, he has closely followed the work of the International Criminal Court at The Hague).

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