Biography of Fatou BENSOUDAGambia > Professionals : Fatou BENSOUDA
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Born on 31/01/1961 (format : day/month/year)
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Fatou bensouda bornJanuary 31, 1961 is a Gambian lawyer, former government civil servant, international criminal law prosecutor and legal adviser. She has been the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor since June 2012, after having served as a Deputy Prosecutor in charge of the Prosecutions Division of the ICC since 2004.] She has held positions of Legal Adviser and Trial Attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
On June 15, 2012, the International Criminal Court, or ICC, swore in its second chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda. Bensouda replaced Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the court's chief prosecutor since its 2002 launch. She is the first African and first woman to hold the position.
The ICC is the world’s first permanent international tribunal, trying cases of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
Bensouda, who had served for eight years as the deputy chief prosecutor, was an obvious choice as Ocampo’s successor. Per the Rome Statute, which established the court in 1998, Bensouda was elected by the ICC’s 121 member states.
Bensouda will carry on her predecessor’s legacy of drawing attention to the work of the ICC and making the court relevant and effective. She inherits 14 pending cases and 11 outstanding arrest warrants. Despite this daunting load, her swearing in prompted strong expressions of optimism for her nine-year term.
Bensouda was born to a polygamous Muslim family in 1961 in the African Republic of the Gambia. She went to college and passed the bar in Nigeria before returning to her home country in 1987 to work as a prosecuting attorney. She holds a masters degree in International Maritime Law and Law of The Sea, making her Gambia’s first international maritime law expert.
In May 2002 Bensouda began working as a trial lawyer and later legal advisor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. In 2004 she was elected by the Assembly of States Parties to the position of deputy prosecutor.
As deputy prosecutor, Bensouda oversaw the ICC’s first successful prosecution of Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga in March 2011.
Bensouda is the mother of two sons and one adopted daughter.
The Road Ahead
Expectations are high as an African woman takes office. African countries make up the largest block of the ICC’s founding states, and all of the court’s pending cases are on the continent.
I am an African and I am very proud of that ... But I think it is not because I am an African that I was chosen for this position. I think my track record speaks for myself … I have been endorsed by the African Union, but I am a prosecutor for 121 states parties and this is what I intend to be until the end of my mandate.
Last update : 07/23/2012Update this page