Human Rights – As the International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo prepares to leave office, many hope that this will usher in a new era for international justice. His successor, Fatou Bensouda, is a citizen of Gambia and the first African to hold one of the top positions at the ICC.
Bensouda was elected following an intense lobbying campaign orchestrated by the African Union (AU), in response to views that the ICC focuses too much of its attention on the investigation of African affairs. Jean Ping, AU Commission Chairman, summarised this view: “Frankly speaking, we are not against the ICC. What we are against is Ocampo’s justice. What have we done to justify being an example to the world? Are there no worst countries, like Myanmar [Burma]?”
In putting Bensouda at the top, working as both the face and mouthpiece of the ICC, it is hoped that the international community may turn its attention to human rights violations in continents other than Africa. Her intellect and experience leave little doubt that her term will be a positive one for the ICC, and her unanimous approval certainly signals the support of the international community.
Whatever the nationality of the individual who holds the top job, however, the ICC must steer clear of selective justice. Human rights atrocities must be prosecuted with swift and determined action, wherever they take place. It is this, rather than accusations of bias, that currently hinders the ICC; until it is clear that the international community will point to violations regardless of location, no one individual can bring the ICC the legitimacy that it craves.
Read more at the BBC.