Unlike her predecessor who was accused of targeting only Africans, the new prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) wants to be a prosecutor for all the 121 state parties during her nine-year tenure in office.
Fatou Bensouda, a former justice minister in the Gambia, took oath of office as the new ICC prosecutor on Friday at a brief ceremony in The Hague. Before taking over from Luis Morenco-Ocampo, Bensouda was a deputy prosecutor at the ICC.
“I, Fatou Bensouda, solemnly undertake that I will perform my duties and exercise my powers as prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, honourably, faithfully, impartially and conscientiously,” she said, vowing to be guided by the Rome Statute that established the ICC instead of bowing to pressure from suspects.
“In serving justice,” she said, “we should not be swayed by the propaganda of the few criminals but the millions. First and foremost, my thoughts are with our four colleagues currently detained in Libya,” she said, referring to the ICC staff currently being detained in the north African country.
“I am humbled by the privileged responsibility that the state parties have bestowed on me. I am also thankful to the African Union for supporting my candidature which shows that they are committed to fighting impunity,” she said. She described the African Union’s support for her candidacy as a sign of their commitment to ending impunity.
The newly-sworn prosecutor said her office “will continue to work with other partners namely other offices of ICC, rights groups and the state parties.”
Bensouda’s office has to deal with 14 cases, including two Kenya’s post-election violence and preliminary investigation initiated by Mr. Ocampo who managed to secure only a single verdict.
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