ICC new Prosecutor promises“to look for new innovative methods”
--Gambian Fatou Bensouda takes oath
“As I begin my tenure, moving forward in consolidating current practices, the office will continue to forge ahead with its investigations and prosecutions,” said Gambia's Fatou Bensouda, the new chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as she took the solemn oath of office on Friday in The Hague.
Bensouda, Gambia’s former Justice Minister replaces Luis Moreno Ocampo of Argentina, who has held the job for close to ten years.
The Gambian jurist served as the ICC deputy prosecutor for the past 8 years and she has now become the first African to hold the post.
“It will in particular also continue to look for innovative methods for the collection of evidence to bring further gender crimes and crimes against children to the court to ensure effective prosecutions of these crimes while respecting and protecting their victims,” the Gambian Jurist who studied law in Nigeria said.
Bensouda is taking over, as Ivory Coast former President Laurent Gbagbo begins his trial at the ICC.
The ICC is also trying to convince the Libyan government for it to take custody of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the late Libyan leader Colonel Mouammar Gadaffi.
The ICC has indicted Saif al-Islam for crimes against humanity.
‘’Preliminary examinations will remain a key element of the office’s activities and the office will continue to ensure clarity, transparency and predictability in its decisions,’’ the new African ICC Chief Prosecutor assured.
With the growing criticisms from many quarters that the ICC was largely targeting Africa and Africans, with Western violators of international criminal law being the untouchables, the challenge ahead for Bensouda is enormous.
But in presiding over the swearing in ceremony, ICC President Sang-Hyun Song spoke of the Gambian jurist’s wealth of prosecutorial experience and staunch international support.
“I am confident that her strong independent voice, legal expertise and genuine concern for human rights issues will contribute greatly to the continued fight against impunity,” Sang-Hyun Song said.