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Welcome, ICC Prosecutor Bensouda!

New ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda

Today, Fatou Bensouda was sworn in as the new Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), replacing the Court's first Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo.  Bensouda is the first woman and African to hold this position.

Bensouda, who is from Gambia, previously served as ICC Deputy Prosecutor, working closely with Ocampo, so it seems the first Prosecutor-to-Prosecutor transfer of power in the Court's history should go smoothly.  Her experience is impressive, and additionally, the fact that she is an African woman will likely help to blunt the perception on the part of some critics that the ICC is targeting Africa unfairly in its investigations.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to hear Prosecutor Bensouda speak at an event at the Assembly of States Parties meeting last December.  She made compelling reference to the need for the Court to focus its attention on gender-based violence and bring perpetrators of these crimes to justice.  I was impressed by Bensouda, and I look forward to seeing what her next steps as Prosecutor will be as the Court nears its milestone 10th anniversary in July.

Congratulations, Prosecutor Bensouda! And thank you to former Prosecutor Ocampo for all of your efforts to establish the Court's role in bringing about international justice.

My Adventures at the Assembly of States Parties

ICC Prosecutor Ocampo and Prosecutor-Elect Bensouda

I have just arrived back in D.C. after spending three days at the Assembly of States Parties meeting of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in New York City.  For some highlights and my reflections on this extraordinary experience, read on....

Highlights

Day One:  The Tenth ASP kicked off with speeches from UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, the President of Botswana, and current ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, among others.   Pillay reasserted the important role the Court has played over the past decade in deterring tyrants around the globe.  Ocampo recounted the Court's work over his nearly nine-year tenure and noted that the "shadow of the Court" has helped to deter those who would commit atrocities around the globe.  Finally, the President of Botswana gave an excellent speech in which he not only called on fellow African nations to support the ICC, but also pointed the finger at those members of the U.N. Security Council who have exercised their veto power unjustly due to "politics." (Russia and China should be reminded of this the next time there is a Security Council vote on Syria.) 

Fatou Bensouda of Gambia was elected as the new chief prosecutor of the ICC. She is the first woman and the first African to hold this important post.  Having an African woman hold this position not only allows for an important perspective on gender crime cases being investigated by the ICC, but will also hopefully ease criticism that the Court is solely targeting crimes in Africa.