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OAS Appoints Former ICC Prosecutor Ocampo to Look Into Venezuela ‘Crimes Against Humanity’

Luis Moreno Ocampo (L) discusses human rights with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof (R) at the CFR Symposium on International Law and Justice sponsored by the Pitt-Jolie Foundation.

Luis Moreno Ocampo (L) discusses human rights with NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof (R) at the CFR Symposium on International Law and Justice sponsored by the Pitt-Jolie Foundation*
teleSUR | July 25, 2017

Luis Almagro, the secretary-general of the Organization of American States, has appointed former International Criminal Court Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo as OAS special adviser on crimes against humanity.

Ocampo, who also served as a World Bank consultant, is a controversial figure who has been described as erratic and prone to grandstanding performances that undercut his own legal efforts.

According to a statement published by the OAS, Ocampo’s tasks will include analyzing, studying and discussing the situation in Venezuela with all interested parties and, consequently, making suggestions on possible courses of action by the OAS.

Almagro said the decision was made in light of an “escalation of human rights violations in Venezuela and the systematic attack on the civilian population includes murder, imprisonment and torture … it is evident in the eyes of the international community that we are witnessing crimes against humanity. ”

Caracas has repeatedly accused Almagro and the OAS of promoting intervention and destabilization in Venezuela, which ultimately led to the Bolivarian nation leaving the regional body on the grounds that its continued presence there posed a threat to the country’s sovereignty.

“The OAS can prevent impunity in Venezuela,” Ocampo said. “The secretary-general is creating a new space within the OAS, focusing on crime prevention and control, as well as gathering information that may be useful to the OAS in conducting an independent judicial investigation”

Luis Moreno Ocampo earned much of his recognition during his time as deputy prosecutor during the case of nine members of the military junta that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. However, his time as ICC prosecutor is largely seen as a failure in which the global court lost a great deal of its credibility as some impartial body, largely thanks to Ocampo’s wild moves and desire to seek the media spotlight.

Ocampo drew criticism for his role in Colombia, where in 2008 he suggested that the ICC should begin investigating the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC for crimes against humanity. At the time, then-President Alvaro Uribe was busy pursuing a bloody counterinsurgency campaign against the group, utilizing paramilitary death squads and security forces whose operations led to the execution of 2,364 civilians, a figure that dwarfed the death toll resulting from FARC actions during Uribe’s reign.

In recent years, Ocampo also drew negative attention for his proceedings against sitting heads of state, a pattern that also began in 2008 when he sought a warrant for the arrest of Sudanese President Omar Bashir amid the raging conflict in Darfur. Critics claim that the evidence cited by Ocampo was a spurious mix of fact and fiction, and such an intervention while the civil war raged would only stymie the possibility of an internationally-mediated peace process.

“My time in the ICC was a mixture of a fascinating time and a terrible time,” a former staffer for the Office of the Prosecutor said at the time, according to World Affairs Journal. “The prosecutor was erratic, so irrational sometimes that you felt despair. He uses his charisma in a negative way.

Since then, Ocampo has pursued the prosecution of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on charges of genocide while likewise charging deceased former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi with crimes against humanity for alleged massacres committed against anti-government protests that became increasingly violent before culminating in an open “regime change” campaign spearheaded by the U.S. with European and Gulf Arab allies.

The court has largely been discredited among non-Group of 7 nations as a neocolonial tool of Western capitals seeking to control the Global south. Last October, Gambia’s Information Minister Sheriff Bojang noted that the ICC is, “in fact, an International Caucasian Court for the persecution and humiliation of people of color.”

Most recently, the former ICC prosecutor advised the Israelis on how to evade criminal charges for their perpetual expansion of illegal settlements. Ocampo noted that the settler-colonial state could successfully defend itself by manipulating international legal perceptions through arguments that the ongoing settlement construction is legal “once ratified by the country’s top court,” the Israeli High Court, which Ocampo argued “is highly respected internationally.”

* Photo: YouTube-Council on Foreign Relations

July 26, 2017 Posted by | Deception | , , , | 1 Comment

Conflict Erupts at OAS over Venezuela’s Constitutional Debate

By Chris Carlson | Venezuelanalysis | January 17th, 2013

Punto Fijo – The controversy surrounding Venezuela’s constitution and the delaying of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s swearing-in became a point of contention at a meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington yesterday.

Panama’s ambassador to the OAS, Guillermo Cochez, sharply criticized OAS General Secretary José Miguel Insulza for accepting the ruling of Venezuela’s Supreme Court to delay Chavez’s swearing-in.

The government of Panama rejected Cochez’s statements today and dismissed him from the OAS, according to the ambassador himself.

Insulza stated last week that the OAS would fully respect the decision of the Venezuelan Supreme Court and would not consider taking any action regarding the matter.

Cochez rejected this position, comparing Venezuela to a “classic dictatorship”, and said that although the Chavez government was democratically elected, a “lack of independent institutions” makes it a “sick democracy”.

Cochez went on to accuse the OAS and its member states of being “accomplices” to a violation of the Venezuelan constitution, and suggested that if nothing is done the Organization of American States should consider permanently closing down.

The Panamanian ambassador’s intervention led to a number of responses from member nations, including some very strong remarks from Venezuela’s ambassador to the OAS, Roy Chaderton, who accused Cochez of intervening in Venezuela’s internal affairs and receiving instructions from the Venezuelan opposition.

“You write and comment in Venezuelan media against President Chavez at every opportunity, especially on that nest of media delinquents known as Globovision, and with all the freedom guaranteed by Venezuelan democracy,” said Chaderton.

The Venezuelan ambassador accused Cochez of meeting and conspiring with right-wing factions seeking to overthrow the Venezuelan government, including individuals like Roger Noriega and Venezuelan bank executive Pedro Mario Burelli, who was present at the OAS meeting as a guest of the Panama delegation.

Several Latin American countries quickly responded in favor of Venezuela, and rejected any type of intervention on the part of the OAS.

Brazil, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Argentina all intervened in support of Venezuela, and rejected the comments made by Panama’s ambassador.

“Venezuela’s democratic order is perfectly guaranteed,” said the Brazilian ambassador, assuring that the situation was “an internal matter”.

Canada, on the other hand, suggested sending an OAS delegation to Venezuela to evaluate the situation, however Insulza said that any decision to take action would have to wait until a future meeting since it was not a part of the agenda of yesterday’s meeting.

Shortly after the meeting, the government of Panama also rejected the intervention made by their ambassador.

“The government of Panama categorically rejects the unauthorized declarations made by Panama’s Ambassador to the OAS,” said an official communiqué released by the government.

Panama assured that the position taken by Cochez was “far from the position of the national government,” and said that Panama would “continue to respect the internal political process” in Venezuela.

Chaderton attributed the Panamanian’s intervention to an attempt by Venezuela’s opposition coalition MUD of attempting to force a type of OAS intervention in Venezuela.

“It is an embarrassment that the MUD tries to use their friends in the OAS to get them to intervene in Venezuela,” he said.

Opposition Student Protests

The OAS decision to respect the Venezuelan Supreme Court ruling was also the motive of a minor protest in Caracas yesterday.

A group of students marched to OAS headquarters to demand the organization reconsider their position on the situation in Venezuela.

“Just because the three branches of government have ratified the decision does not mean that it is constitutional,” said one student to private channel Globovision.

Both the opposition and government supporters have planned major marches for next Wednesday, January 23rd as part of the controversy surrounding Venezuela’s constitution.

January 18, 2013 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Comments Off on Conflict Erupts at OAS over Venezuela’s Constitutional Debate