The actress Angelina Jolie offered to act as a honeytrap to capture one of Africa’s most notorious war criminals, according to documents leaked from within the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The offer was made during discussions with Luis Moreno Ocampo, the ICC chief prosecutor at the time, who wanted to deploy the Hollywood star in the Central African Republic to help hunt down the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony. In one leaked email sent by Moreno Ocampo, he claims that Jolie “has the idea to invite Kony to dinner and then arrest him”.
Moreno Ocampo was hoping to embed Jolie, and possibly her husband, Brad Pitt, with US special forces troops close to the warlord’s stronghold, where hundreds of children had been abducted.
“Forget other celebrities, she is the one,” Moreno Ocampo wrote in another email. “She loves to arrest Kony. She is ready. Probably Brad will go also.”
The disclosures come from a cache of 40,000 documents obtained by the French investigative website Mediapart and seen by The Sunday Times and members of the European Investigative Collaborations.
Last week The Sunday Times revealed that Moreno Ocampo passed sensitive information to a possible war crimes suspect who was secretly paying him for advice. The court has now launched an investigation into two members of staff.
The ICC in the Hague, Holland, has a budget of £130m a year to investigate and prosecute the world’s most heinous criminals who commit genocide and war crimes. However, the leaked documents show how Moreno Ocampo, an Argentinian lawyer, had become bedazzled by celebrities while he held the top job in the prosecutor’s office at the court between 2003 and 2012.
Moreno Ocampo was especially keen to rub shoulders with Jolie. He even sought her advice on how he should tell the world the results of his sensitive three-year inquiry into whether the court had the jurisdiction to investigate war crimes in the Palestinian territories.
Jolie, 42, a campaigner for international humanitarian causes, had supported the work of the court for a number of years. In 2009 she had attended the trial of Thomas Lubanga, the Congolese warlord whose conviction for co-opting child soldiers was Moreno Ocampo’s only successful prosecution during his nine years as chief prosecutor.
The following year Moreno wrote a flattering email to Jolie inviting the actress to become his adviser. “I see a role for her helping us to understand and build bridges with the humanitarian campus and with citizens concerned from all over the world,” he wrote to her assistant.
The actress does not appear to have accepted Moreno Ocampo’s offer. However, it did not stop the prosecutor from love-bombing her with emails.
In 2011 Jolie was promoting a film about the Bosnian War called In the Land of Blood and Honey, which she had written and directed. She asked the prosecutor for his view on the film. Disregarding mixed reviews, Moreno Ocampo told Jolie in an email that it was comparable to Shakespeare with a plot “so strong I am still recovering”.
A few days later he felt moved to contact Jolie again. “I am in LA and I watched the movie again (4th time) . . . you are a genius. You did exactly what you said: a love story showing the war horrors. xx Luis.”
Jolie was delighted: “Louis [sic], I wish you could see the smile on my face. You represent with your work all that I value. I am so happy that the film speaks to you.”
In 2012 the prosecutor began devising a new role for Jolie: helping him to bring Joseph Kony to trial. The warlord had been indicted by the ICC in 2005 for allegedly committing war crimes in northern Uganda while leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). His alleged crimes included murder, rape, enslavement and enforced conscription of children.
Kony’s notoriety surged in early 2012 when a 30-minute video about his crimes by the pressure group Invisible Children went viral, receiving more than 100m views in less than a week.
Moreno Ocampo talked to Invisible Children about taking Jolie out to the Central African Republic, where Kony was believed to be. He wrote to the actress: “Apparently you can be embedded with the special forces that are chasing Kony. Can Brad go with you?”
Jolie replied: “Brad is being supportive. Let’s discuss logistics. Much love Xxx.”
Moreno Ocampo described how Jolie had suggested she could lure Kony to dinner as a trap to arrest him: “It will be great to spend more time with the American troops,” he wrote to Jolie. “They are eager to get Kony, but after meeting you, they will do it.”
There are no further details in the documents about the dinner and the proposed trip does not appear to have gone ahead.
Moreno Ocampo again emailed Jolie the following month. He was about to announce that he had decided the court could not investigate war crimes in the Palestinian territories, he told Jolie.
“I need your advice on how to present difficult issues in a proper way,” he wrote. “. . . The issue is how to present it to the normal people . . . so if you have ideas just let me know.
“Just in case, I am attaching the decision I will take. It is confidential. Please don’t share it before Tuesday.”
Jolie replied: “I suggest you read your statement but consider not opening the floor to questions.”
It was one of Moreno Ocampo’s last acts as chief prosecutor. He had hoped Jolie would become involved in a charity education project with him but her interest in communicating with him was waning. A plaintive email saying “Dear Angie, I hope you are well. I miss you” went unanswered.
When he read a story in a newspaper claiming the star was ill, he sent an email to her assistant saying: “I realise how much I love her.”
The assistant replied brusquely. Jolie had changed her private email address.
Last week Moreno Ocampo claimed he had been “the focus of a cyber-attack” and “a criminal investigation is in process”. He added that “selective and out of context information” had been leaked by parties opposed to his work, which had led to “false and misleading reporting”. Jolie did not respond to questions.
JOSEPH KONY, AFRICAN WARLORD
- Age 56
- Born Village close to Gulu in northern Uganda
- Education Born to Christian parents, he was an altar boy until he dropped out of school aged 15
- Career Leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, who is alleged to have committed numerous crimes across northern Uganda, including murder, rape and the enforced conscription of children
- Spouses Reputed to have at least 60 wives, as he takes his pick of the girls he captures
- Wanted by the International Criminal Court, which issued a warrant for his arrest in 2005. Still at large, despite being hunted by international forces for years
ANGELINA JOLIE, HOLLYWOOD WARRIOR
- Age 42
- Born Los Angeles, California
- Education Joined a New York acting school in early teens before attending Beverly Hills High School
- Career Academy award-winning actress who rose to fame playing the adventurer Lara Croft. Now involved in humanitarian work promoting women’s rights and international justice
- Spouses Three marriages to three actors. Split with her most recent husband, Brad Pitt, last year
- Wanted by movie producers, directors and paparazzi. She is one of the world’s most famous and highly paid actresses
Source: The Sunday Times