There’s a New Chief in Town
With Moreno-Ocampo’s nine-year term with the International Criminal Court coming to an end, it is time for the changing of the guard. The new Chief Prosecutor will be Fatou Bensouda, ICC’s Deputy Prosecutor since 2004. She was elected by unanimous vote by the 119 participating countries on December 12, 2011.
Hailing from Gambia, the 50-year-old Bensouda has had an admirable legal career, including helping to prosecute key players in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. She is highly admired by her peers, who call her “a fantastic person” who is thoughtful and compassionate.
Long known as a champion of women’s rights, Bensouda has stated that she places a big emphasis on prosecuting sexual and gender crimes, and has pledged to continue this work. She is the first woman to hold the ICC’s Chief Prosecutor position.
Amongst the greatest criticisms of the ICC is the alleged targeting of African countries. The African Union says African nations are singled out for investigations. With the appointment of an African Chief Prosecutor – will this criticism continue to hold water? The AU officially supported Bensouda as a candidate for office.
Bensouda will officially take office in mid-2012.