Meet Fatou Bensouda. On June 15, 2012 she replaced Luis Moreno-Ocampo as the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The new prosecutor is a native of the African nation of Gambia and studied law in Nigeria. She has previous experience as an attorney and legal adviser during the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which was brought together to bring justice to those responsible for the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. For the last eight years she has been working for the ICC as the Deputy Prosecutor. In December of 2011, the participating state parties of the ICC unanimously voted for Bensouda to be Ocampo’s successor.
In 2005 Ocampo made Joseph Kony the first person to be indicted by the ICC for crimes against humanity. Ocampo was a great friend to Invisible Children and a consistent advocate for youth involvement in international justice and Kony’s arrest. Ocampo took the court through its first nine years.
While we appreciate Ocampo’s contributions, we are looking forward to this new era of the court. International justice is seeing an uptick in trials and media attention, as exemplified by the trials and convictions of Charles Taylor and Thomas Lubanga this year.
Mrs. Bensouda has vowed to continue to pursue justice in all open cases that the court is currently dealing with, especially those in which children have been harmed. In the past, the Africa Union (AU) has accused the ICC of selective prosecution based on the fact that all of the ICC-indictees are African. In a BBC article from last year, Mrs. Bensouda is unapologetic about the ICC’s focus on African conflicts.
“We say that the ICC is targeting Africans, but all of the victims in our cases in Africa are African victims.”
Invisible Children has high hopes for Bensouda’s term, and we are excited to see what steps she will take to ensure justice is delivered to those indicted.
Photo Credit: Evert-Jan Daniels/AFP/Getty Images