NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 1 – Ugandan-born activist Dr. David Nyekorach -Matsanga is now set to move to ICC Appeal Chamber V seeking orders to compel the Assembly of States Parties President to stop the selection of the new Chief Prosecutor.
This follows an acknowledgment of his letter to the Independent Oversight Mechanism (IOM), in which he filed and registered complaints against the ICC Select Committee for the replacement of the Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensounda, that had shortlisted four names.
The court has kicked off the hiring process for a new prosecutor to replace Fatou Bensouda whose term in office ends on June 21, 2021. She took over in June 2012 from Moreno Ocampo, who initiated an investigation on the killing of more than 1,100 people during Kenya’s post-election violence in 2007.
Matsanga, who is the Chairman of the Pan African Forum, claims that the selection process that led to the shortlist of four candidates was compromised.
The candidates include Morris A. Anyah (Nigeria); Fergal Gaynor(Ireland); Susan Okalany(Uganda); and Richard Roy, Canada.
His letter last month listed over 40 grounds as the basis upon which to nullify the process.
Matsanga wants the IoM to intervene and restore confidence in the process which, he said, is compromised or likely to be, if measures are not taken.
“The Independent Oversight Mechanism (IOM) acknowledges receipt of your correspondence dated August 2, 2020 regarding your request for the IOM to conduct an inquiry into the selection process of the new ICC Prosecutor,” IOM’s Head, Saklaine Hedaraly wrote to Matsanga.
However, he went on to say, IOM’s Operational Mandate only allows the IOM to conduct independent investigations with respect to misconduct by the Court elected officials, staff members of contractors.
“It does not, at this time extend to allegations made with respect to members of committees established by the Assembly of States Parties or its Bureau,” Saklaine said in a letter to Dr Matsanga.
But he said that he has “accordingly informed the President of the Assembly of your request, so that should the States Parties wish for the IOM to review the selection process for the new Prosecutor, they may request the IOM to do so.”
It is a strategy that Dr. Matsanga, renowned international critic of the ICC, has deployed to place the ICC at crossroads.
“My complaints fall under Article 112 of the Rome Statute. I want to remind the IOM that the ASP created the IOM for the purposes of reporting Potential breaches of the ICC regulations under Article 112 of the Rome Statute,” Matsanga said in the August 2, 2020 letter, urging the IoM to launch an independent inquiry into the process, and even cancel it altogether.
He is particularly concerned, and alleges, that public participation is compromised since not all the players will be able to attend due to travel restrictions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new development from the IOM is likely to exert pressure on the Assembly of State Parties to review the selection process, with likely scenarios to reject or cancel the entire recruitment process or resort to use the original list with all the applicants.
Matsanga, who has closely followed the ICC cases from 2005 since the first case in Africa in his home country Uganda, is a thorn in the court’s flesh.
Kenya, as a State Party, has equally raised similar concerns and the battle line have been drawn, with several member countries questioning the process.