Parties to the international treaty that created the International Criminal Court (ICC) have selected Fatou B. Bensouda of the Gambia to be the next prosecutor.
Ms. Bensouda is expected to be elected on December 12 at the tenth session of the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute, the court said in a press release.
She will assume office June 16 next year to replace Luis Moreno-Ocampo of Argentina, who has been prosecutor since 2003 and whose term will come to an end.
Ms. Bensouda has served as ICC’s Deputy Prosecutor since September 2004 and worked as a Legal Adviser and Trial Attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where she rose to the position of senior legal adviser and head of the legal advisory unit.
The consultations for nominations lasted four weeks and included a series of meetings of the New York Working Group of the Bureau, where the four candidates shortlisted by the search committee were given the opportunity to present themselves to States Parties.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is compiling evidence of possible war crimes in southern Sudan, allegedly directed by the same man, Sudanese Defense Minister Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, an ICC prosecutor wants to apprehend for alleged crimes eight years ago in Darfur. An ICC memo outlines the Darfur crimes and says Mr. Hussein is “currently central to the commission of similar crimes” along the border between the north and south, including the killings of thousands of civilians.
A significant part of this investigation is based on data from the Satellite Sentinel Project, a network of private satellites and analysts organized by George Clooney in partnership with John Prendergast’s Enough Project. The satellites have snapped pictures of Sudan since December 2010. “We are the antigenocide paparazzi,” Mr. Clooney told TIME.
The investigation comes as ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo requested an arrest warrant for Mr. Hussein with respect to war crimes from August 2003 to March 2004. Mr. Hussein allegedly engaged in war crimes by dispatching troops and militias to Darfur that killed tens of thousands of civilians to suppress rebellion in the region.
The ICC is building a case that Mr. Hussein is behind the killing of civilians over the past year. The North is seeking to secure control over those oil-rich regions along the border between the north and south.
The ICC investigation memo says evidence suggests that military forces from North Sudan and their militias committed “grave crimes.” Military forces under Mr. Hussein’s command are conducting military operations in these areas and utilizing proxy militias to carry out atrocities. The memo cites the deaths of at least 2,000 civilians since early this year. Tens of thousands have been displaced, the memo adds.
The ICC memo cites Mr. Clooney’s satellites capturing images of the results of bombing of villages in late May that resulted in the displacement of 30,000 people, as well as pictures of the movement of northern artillery and thousands of troops in Karmuk.
The fact that the ICC is investigating Mr. Hussein’s role in possible atrocities in the South does not necessarily mean he will face arrest.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. Photo by Lindsay
The United States has offered its first support to the International Criminal Court (ICC) through its acceptance of the U.N. resolution imposing sanctions against Libya.
The resolution announced that there is enough evidence of crimes against humanity to warrant a full investigation into Moammar Gadhafi’s regime.
The United States, however, insisted on including a provision that would shield countries that haven’t joined the ICC from being the subject of investigations.
The ICC began operation in 2002. It was established by the Rome Statute
, which allows the international community to step in only when countries are unwilling or unable to bring charges against those responsible for crimes against humanity, genocide, or war crimes.
One hundred and fourteen countries have ratified the Rome Statute. China, Russia, and the United States, all permanent U.N. Security Council members, are not members of the ICC. The United States, (in)famously, signed on to the Statute, then later unsigned under the Presidency of George W. Bush.
The International Criminal Court, where space was rented by the Special Court of Sierra Leone to try Charles Taylor. Photo by Lindsay.
The 3-year trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor has ended. Taylor was indicted in 2003 – while still in office – for atrocities committed in neighboring Sierra Leone. He has been tried by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone.
In closing arguments, the defense argued Taylor was the victim of politically motivated prosecution and that rebel groups were responsible for the atrocities. The prosecution argued that Taylor used the rebel group Revolutionary United Front (RUF) to gain control over Sierra Leone to exploit its mineral resources. The prosecution argues that Taylor gave the RUF and other rebel groups weapons in exchange for blood diamonds.
The RUF terrorized Sierra Leone for ten years, using rape, murder, and torture to take over the country.
The trial heard the testimony of 115 witnesses (many of whom were former child soldiers) and saw 1,097 exhibits.
It will be months before a verdict is rendered. If convicted, Taylor would serve his sentence in the United Kingdom.
Via Impunity Watch.