, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 7 – Ugandan peace negotiator and journalist Dr David Matsanga has lost an appeal in which he sought to disqualify the former International Criminal Court Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo from investigating him over claims that he revealed identities of protected witnesses.
In the ruling issued late Thursday, ICC Judges said Matsanga’s appeal did not have basis because it targeted Ocampo who is no longer at The Hague-based court.
“With Mr Moreno-Ocampo having left office, the request to disqualify him has been rendered moot and must be dismissed as such,” presiding Judge Sang-Hyun Song said.
Ocampo left the ICC on June 15 after serving as prosecutor for nine years.
“Considering that the Request for Disqualification is moot, the Appeals Chamber sees no reason why it should grant leave to reply and thus to present further arguments to Mr Nyekorach-Matsanga,” the presiding Judge said, and added that “Given that the Request for Disqualification is dismissed as moot, the Appeals Chamber finds it unnecessary to consider the other remedies requested by Mr Nyekorach-Matsanga, all of which were aimed at facilitating the Appeals Chamber’s consideration of the merits of the Request for Disqualification.”
Matsanga’s appeal stems from allegations that he knowingly sought to reveal the identity of an individual he believed to be a protected witness.
Matsanga had appealed on the basis of article 42 of the Statute, which provides, in relevant part, that neither the prosecutor nor a deputy shall participate in any matter in which their impartiality might reasonably be doubted on any ground.
Any question as to the disqualification of the Prosecutor or a Deputy Prosecutor shall be decided by the Appeals Chamber.
In his submission, Ocampo had argued that submissions advanced by Matsanga could qualify as basis to have him or any [other] prosecutor from investigating him.
“Claims [by Matsanga] are frivolous and fail as a matter of law,’ the prosecutor responded, in his submission to the applicant.
The judge said the prosecutor argued that Matsanga’s complaints “cannot be a basis to disqualify the Prosecutor” as “[i]f that were the case, any person under investigation could disarm the Prosecutor simply by complaining about his conduct.”
Matsanga had contended that the investigation constituted a “retaliatory action” and that, in investigating him, the Prosecutor “intended to silence him, being one of the Prosecutor’s critics on the African continent and stifle and render nugatory his complaint to the Appeals Chamber.
The applicant who lodged the appeal through his lawyer Charles Taku had also argued that the prosecutor intended to pre-empt the investigations of a complaint he filed against the Prosecutor’s intermediaries.
The witness (s) Matsanga is accused of having tampered with or exposed is among those lined up to testify against one or all the four Kenyans facing crimes against humanity charges in The Hague.
They include Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, former head of civil service Francis Muthaura, Eldoret North MP William Ruto and former radio presenter Joshua Sang.