ICC elects African as new chief prosecutor

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 00:24

United Nations: International Criminal Court
member states on Monday unanimously elected Fatou Bensouda of
Gambia as the new chief prosecutor of the main genocide and
war crimes tribunal.

Bensouda said it was "humbling" to be named to the post,
which has become one of the most important international legal
positions with the growth of international criminal justice
over the past decade.

Bensouda, is currently the ICC deputy prosecutor and a
former justice minister in Gambia. She will take over next
June from Luis Moreno-Ocampo who sought the genocide warrant
against Sudan`s Omar al-Bashir and crimes against humanity
case against late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The new prosecutor was elected by consensus at the annual
meeting of the ICC`s 120 state parties at the UN headquarters.

Bensouda said she was particularly proud of the support
given by Africa.

"The African continent has again shown its support and
its engagement in favour of international justice and the
court," Bensouda said after the election.

"But let me stress: I will be the prosecutor of all the
states parties in an independent and impartial manner," she
added.

All of the ICC`s formal investigations are in Africa but
many of the continent`s leaders say Africa is unfairly
targeted and an African Union summit this year decided not to
carry out warrants issued against African leaders.

Bensouda called the ICC, set up by the 2002 Rome statute,
"a truly unique institution.

She said the court was "changing international relations
forever."

Bensouda will face immediate challenges with Bashir still
no closer to answering the charges against him over the
conflict in Darfur.

She must also handle a sensitive case over whether Seif
al-Islam, the son of Gaddafi, is tried in Libya or at the ICC
in The Hague.

Bensouda was one of 52 candidates interviewed for the
post. African nations had pressed for Bensouda`s appointment,
however, and many analysts have expressed the hope that her
nomination will increase the tribunal`s acceptance on the
continent.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 00:24

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