It has now been announced by the International Criminal Court that Fatou Bensouda, the current ICC Deputy Prosecutor will be the sole candidate for election to be Prosecutor of the ICC. The decision to nominate her as the sole candidate This means that Fatou Bensouda will be the next ICC Prosecutor. The elections will take place in December and she will take over from Luis Moreno-Ocampo in June next year. As I stated in a previous post of a couple of days ago the list of candidates has been whittled down from the four recommended by a search committee and there was a strong feeling that the next prosecutor should be African. For the reasons that I gave in that earlier post Fatou Bensouda seems to be an excellent choice and has been the front runner in this race for quite some time. She is from Gambia (though she studied law in Nigeria – in fact at the same University I went to) and was the candidate endorsed by the African Union. However, she has also been vigorous in defending the prosecution by the ICC of Africans. I had the pleasure of speaking with her at a workshop on the ICC held in Botswana (and also here) in July of this year . In her speech, “Does the ICC Target Africa: Is the ICC Selectively Prosecuting Cases?” she said:
“Let me turn squarely to the question you would like answer today. All the persons accused by the ICC are African. That is true. Why? Because the Rome Statute says that we should select the gravest situations under the Court’s jurisdiction. There are also more than 5 million African victimes displaced, more than 40,000 African victims killed, hundreds of thousands of African children transformed into killers and rapists, thousands of African victims raped. In Northern Uganda, the LRA displaced more than a million people, and abducted boys and girls and forced them to kill. We cannot turn a blind eye to justice for 2.5 million people in Darfur, for 2 mllion victims in the DRC. The Ituri region in DRC is still plagued by militia killings, looting and raping. These African victims are calling for more ICC intervention, not less.”
She then went on to note that in six of the situations currently before the Court, African leaders had requested ICC intervention.
She is taking on a job with immense responsibilities but appears very well suited to the task. We wish her all the very best!