Dixon explains why Ocampo’s report is politically biased by Armenian separatists

By order of the “president” of the Armenian pro-Russian separatists in Karabakh, Arayik Aratyunyan, the ex-prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno Ocampo, published a report with a loud headline: “The Armenian Genocide in 2023.”

Ocampo stepped down as ICC prosecutor in 2012, and since then the world media have only mentioned his name in the context of corruption scandals and protecting the interests of criminals.

Nevertheless, the “expert opinion”, prepared in just nine days, attracted the attention of the press – The Washington Post, CNN, Forbes, ABC News, Associated Press and a number of other publications wrote about it.

Not only the media, but also active lawyers and human rights activists reacted to Ocampo’s report. The most reasoned comment was given by Rodney Dixon, a current expert in international law, with experience in conducting cases in Afghanistan, Kenya, Britain, Georgia, Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, among others.

Dixon’s opinion is of particular interest, since he specializes in accusations related to alleged genocides. However, the only case that Ocampo brought to an end in his nine years as a prosecutor – the indictment against Thomas Lubanga, the leader of a paramilitary group in the Congo – had to do with anything BUT genocide.

Dixon’s commentary consists of five points with impartial and strict legal reasoning. The most important is the thesis in which the expert convincingly proves that from the point of view of international norms, “genocide” is out of the question:

The definition of “genocide” implies the presence of two components: “physical” (committing specific actions) and “mental” (intention to destroy a group of people). Ocampo’s report, but more importantly, the judgments of the International Court of Justice to which he refers, lack both of these elements. “The charge of genocide is unsubstantiated,” Dixon concludes.

Another important emphasis noted by Dixon is the “clear selectivity in relation to the ‘facts’ in the report.” Ocampo talks about a fictitious “genocide” due to the blocking of the main route of humanitarian supplies to Karabakh – the Lachin road. But at the same time, the ex-prosecutor deliberately does not mention the existence of another road for humanitarian supplies Agdam-Khankedi, which runs through Azerbaijani territory.

Such bias and incompetence of Ocampo can be easily explained by his engagement in the interests of the Armenian separatists. On July 29, Harutyunyan turned to Ocampo with a request to comment on the situation in Karabakh – this is a public fact. Within nine days, the ex-prosecutor handed over the “order” of the separatists supported by the Kremlin. It is worth noting that the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, who with pain and misery only closed a single case in nine years, was able to sort out the situation in Karabakh in just nine days.

“The sharpness of the report cannot be allowed to drive an unjustified wedge between the peace-seeking governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan,” Dixon writes at the end of his conclusion.

However, Armenia did not heed the words of the leading expert in the field of international law and on August 11 turned to the UN Security Council with a request to convene an emergency meeting on this topic. The sole reason was the Ocampo report, which the leading lawyer qualifies as false.

Apparently, neither Harutyunyan nor Pashinyan will benefit from the tension of the political situation in the South Caucasus. Paradoxically, the only beneficiary of the custom report and the subsequent farce with the “emergency meeting” of the UN Security Council is Russia. The world media have been warning about this since the beginning of the year.

Russia’s regime is manipulating the Armenian minority in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh to stir ethnic conflicts in the South Caucasus and to replace the Armenian government with a Moscow proxy. The scenario is reminiscent of other disputes that the Kremlin has manufactured, whether in Georgia, Moldova, or Ukraine, to maintain its sphere of imperial influence,” the American newspaper The Washington Times reported.

According to Ukrainian media, “Putin is using Armenian separatist puppets in Karabakh for his own purposes, just as he did with Ossetians and Abkhazians in Georgia and supporters of the Russian World in Crimea and Donbas.”

According to the Romanian version of Newsweek, playing on separatist sentiment in Karabakh “allows Moscow to maintain a military presence in the South Caucasus, as well as in the breakaway region of Georgia, South Ossetia or in the Russian-controlled eastern regions of Moldova.”

Rodney Dixon summed up his paper with an eloquent appeal: “The (Ocampo’s) publication should encourage the international community to redouble its efforts to promote a lasting peace in accordance with international law.”

Igor Chalenko

Igor Chalenko is an Ukrainian political scientist who heads the Centre for Analysis and Strategies, Ukraine.