Fatou Bensouda becomes the first woman to be top prosecutor at the ICC

For the first time ever a woman will fill the job of top prosecutor at the International Criminal Court. Starting tomorrow, Gambian lawyer Fatou Bensouda will replace Argentinean Luis Moreno Ocampo now that his nine-year term on the job has ended.

An expert in maritime law, Basouda was a prosecutor in Gambia’s Ministry of Justice and also worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). She had been serving as Ocampo’s deputy at the ICC since 2004.

In an interview with Radio Netherlands last night, Basouda talked about the challenges facing the ICC:

There is a sense of frustration of course when we see the likes of Joseph Kony and Omar al Bashir still out there…. But our duty under the Rome Statute has been done. We were supposed to investigate, prosecute, issue arrest warrants and present evidence. And in all these cases we have done it….


The issue with the ICC is that we’re a judicial institution operating in a political environment. And this sometimes becomes a challenge. Because whatever move the ICC makes—whether we decide to move, whether we do not move, whether we charge someone below the line or very high up—there is always criticism.