Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fatou Bensouda New Prosecutor of the ICC

Photo Courtesy of ICC

Fatou Bensouda was officially instated as new Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on 15th June 2012. She brings to the table her years of national and international experience, first serving as solicitor general of Gambia, and then she broadened her experience internationally by serving as legal advisor and trial attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and thereafter as Deputy Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court. There are many proponents who say that Bensouda could redeem the muddied reputation of her office left behind by her predecessor especially in the context of the Africa and the African Union. But in a recent interview with Radio Netherlands Worldwide she stressed that she was elected to the position not because she was an African but because of her accomplished track record.

Bensouda doesn’t deny her African heritage and makes clear that she is installed as Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to fulfill her legal mandate given the speculations that she will be better equipped to deal with the Africans then her predecessor has. She uses the motto: “The ICC for African Victims” and already her strategy is to relate the current prosecutions to African victims. She also places a lot of emphasis on African participation outside and within the Court. She states that Africa is currently the most represented region at the Court, 28% of the judges are African and three African States (Uganda, DRC and CAR) have referred the situations on their territory to the Court. In other words she has highlighted Africa’s commitment to international justice in a more positive manner.

Whether Bensouda will bring change to the strategy adopted by her predecessor, Ocampo, only time will tell. One thing is for certain she does understand African custom, culture and politics more, and is therefore more likely to engage more meaningfully with African leaders and hopefully more sensitively with next prosecution she undertakes in Africa.

For more information on Bensouda’s swearing in ceremony visit:

 Posted By Ingrid Roestenburg-Morgan 

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