Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Fatou B. Bensouda

Fatou B. Bensouda (born 31 January 1961) is a Gambian lawyer, former government civil servant, international criminal law prosecutor and legal adviser. She has been a Deputy Prosecutor in charge of the Prosecutions Division of the International Criminal Court (ICC) since 2004. In December 2011, she became the consensus choice to serve as the next Prosecutor of the ICC.[1]
Bensouda has previously served as Solicitor-General of Gambia, as well as Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, advising both the President and Cabinet of the Gambia.
She has held positions of Legal Adviser[2] and Trial Attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). She has considerable experience in national criminal prosecutions, diplomatic work and company management.

Early life and education
Bensouda was born in Banjul, The Gambia. She attended primary and secondary school in the Gambia before leaving for Nigeria where she graduated from the University of IFE with an Bachelor of Laws (Hons) degree. She then obtained her Barrister-at-Law (BL) professional qualification from the Nigeria Law School. After acquiring a Master of Laws from the International Maritime Law Institute in Malta, she became the Gambia's first expert in international maritime law and the law of the sea.
Bensouda is married to a Gambian-Moroccan businessman and they have two children.
Lawyer, government civil servant, and company manager
Bensouda has had a long and distinguished national career in the Gambia in both private and public law. Between 1987 and 1993, she was successively Public Prosecutor, Senior State Counsel, and Principal State Counsel. Between 1993 and 1997, she served as Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions whilst also working as Lead Counsel to the Commission of Inquiry into the Financial Activities of Public Corporations: Presidential Commission of Enquiry 1994 (1994-1997). Subsequently, Bensouda was appointed as Solicitor-General and Legal Secretary of the Gambia (April 1997 to July 1998) before her appointment as Attorney-General and Secretary of State (Minister of Justice) of the Gambia (1998-2000). From March 2000 to January 2002, she was a Private Legal Practitioner at Ya Sadi, Bensouda and Co. Chambers in Banjul. She was also the General Manager of a leading commercial bank in the Gambia, the International Bank for Commerce (Gambia) Limited (January to May 2002).
Bensouda also took part in negotiations on the treaty of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African Parliament, and the ECOWAS Tribunal. She has been a delegate at United Nations' conferences on crime prevention, the Organization of African Unity's Ministerial Meetings on Human Rights, as well as the delegate of the Gambia to the meetings of the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court.
International criminal prosecutor and legal adviser
Bensouda's international career as a non-government civil servant formally began at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where she worked as a Legal Adviser and Trial Attorney before rising to the position of Senior Legal Advisor and Head of the Legal Advisory Unit (May 2002 to August 2004).
On 8 August 2004, she was elected as Deputy Prosecutor (Prosecutions) with an overwhelming majority of votes by the Assembly of State Parties of the International Criminal Court. On 1 November 2004, Bensouda was sworn into Office as Deputy Prosecutor (Prosecutions).
On 1 December 2011 the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC announced that an informal agreement had been reached to make Bensouda the consensus choice to succeed Luis Moreno-Ocampo as Prosecutor of the ICC.[1] Her term as Prosecutor is expected to begin in June 2012.[1]
Awards and honours
Bensouda has been the recipient of various awards, most notably, the distinguished ICJ International Jurists Award (2009), which was presented by President of India P. D. Patil. Bensouda was given this award for her contributions to criminal law both at the national and International level. Bensouda has also been awarded the 2011 World Peace Through Law Award presented by the Whitney Harris World Law Institute, Washington University, which recognized her work in considerably advancing the rule of law and thereby contributing to world peace.
Bensouda has been named by the leading African Magazine, Jeune Afrique, as the 4th most Influential Personality in Africa in the Civil Society Category.[3] and one of the 100 most Influential African Personalities.[4]
Professional or board membership
Bensouda is a member of the International Association of Prosecutors, the Gambian Bar Association and the Nigerian Bar Association. She is also a member of the International Advisory Council of the International Board of Maritime Healthcare (since 2000); the Professional Women's Advisory Board (since 2000); the Board of Directors of The Gambia Committee on Harmful Traditional Practices GAMCOTRAP (National Branch of The Inter African Committee); and the Executive Committee of the Marina International School in the Gambia (since 1994). She has been a member of the Advisory Board of the African Centre For Democracy and Human Rights Studies (1998-2000) and The Gambia High School Board of Governors (1992-1995), as well as the 1st Vice President of The Gambia National Olympics Committee (GNOC).
    From Human Rights to International Criminal Law (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers) Chapter by Bensouda on "Gender and Sexual Violence under The Rome Statute"
    "International Criminal Law in an African Context" by Hassan Jallow and Fatou Bensouda - Chapter 2 of The African Guide to International Criminal Justice; First published by the Institute for Security Studies (2008) www.issafrica.org
    International Criminal Justice: Law and Practice from The Rome Statute to it's Review (Farnham: ASHGATE, 2010) - Chapter 6 by Bensouda "Challenges Related to Investigations and Prosecutions at the International Criminal Court"
Bensouda's work and long term commitment has led to her involvement as a Visiting Lecturer at both the University of Turin (UNICRI Joint Masters Program in International Crimes and Justice) andKennesaw State University (PhD Program on International Conflict Management).
Other Relevant Professional Training
To complement her academic training, Bensouda undertook various professional training courses, including a Diploma in Volunteerism at the International Olympic Committee in New York (November 2001); a "Diplome d'études en Langues Francais (DELF) 1er Degre" from Le Ministère de la Jeunesse, De L'éducation Nationale et De La Recherche de La République Française; a certificate course in Computer and Information Technology at the Management Development Institute in the Gambia (1998); Judicial Independence and Judicial Accountability in the Gambia (November 1993); Human Rights Training for Commonwealth Public Officials in Banjul (1989); an International Law Programme at the International Court of Justice in The Hague (1988); and a Conference on Mutual Legal Assistance at Oxford (September 1994).
Relevant meetings and selected papers as ICC Deputy Prosecutor
    Speaker and presenter at the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), "1325 in 2020: looking forward ... looking back", DurbanSouth Africa, October 2010;
    Participation together with International Prosecutors of other International Courts and Tribunals in all the four Annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs, Chautauqua, 2008-2011;
    Speaker and presenter at the conference organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, on the role of leadership in promoting gender equality, KigaliRwanda, May 2010;
    Speaker at the seminar hosted by the NGO Africa Legal Aid (AFLA) on "Africa and the International Criminal Court", KampalaUganda, May 2010;
    Speaker at the International Coalition of the Cities Against Racism, Nuremburg, October 2009;
    Presenter and discussant at the IBA Conference on the ICC; "Prospects for International Criminal Justice in Mozambique; A prospective - legal and political challenges facing the ICC",MaputoMozambique, June 2009;
    Speaker and presenter at the Amnesty International USA Annual Meeting, "Peace and Justice: International Justice and Challenge of Enforcement", Washington, D.C., April 2008;
    Keynote Speaker to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, Brussels, April 2008
    Presenter and discussant to the Inter-Parliamentarian Conference, "The Legacy of International Tribunals", New York City, November 2007;
    Led ICC Office of the Prosecutor visit to Guinea following the events of September 2009;
    Led ICC Office of the Prosecutor visit to Côte d'Ivoire following the 2010 post-electoral violence.
Conferences and workshops attended as a Government Civil Servant
    Assigned by the President of the Gambia to oversee the Department of State for Local Government, Lands and Religious Affairs, June 1999;
    Delegate to the Asian African Legal Consultative Committee Meeting, 39th session for Justice Ministers, February 2000, Cairo, Egypt;
    Inaugural Meeting of Women Ministers of Justice by Council of Women World Leaders and the United Nations, New York City, November 1999;
    Representative to the OAU Ministerial Meeting on Human Rights in Africa, Grand BaieMauritius, April 1999;
    Member of the Gambian delegation to the UNDP International Conference on Good Governance, United Nations, New York City, July 1997;
    Official to the Meeting of Law Ministers of Small Commonwealth Jurisdictions, Barbados, July-August 1997;
    Gambia's delegate to the United Nations Conference on Crime Prevention and Treatment of Offenders, Preparatory Meeting, Kampala, Uganda, 1995;
    Member of delegation to the 9th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Treatment of Offenders, Cairo, Egypt, 1995;
    Legal Expert to the Sub-Regional Commission on Fisheries meeting on the Convention on the Rights of Hot Pursuit, ConakryGuinea, 1993;
    Member of expert group working on ministerial adaptation of ECOWAS Convention on Extradition and Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance, 1988-1989.

No comments: