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.
Venezuela's Constituent Assembly
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.”