ICC deputy prosecutor on shortlist for boss's job

Tue Oct 25, 2011 5:56pm GMT

By Aaron Gray-Block

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - International Criminal Court deputy prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is one of four candidates on a shortlist to replace Luis Moreno-Ocampo as chief prosecutor of the world's top war crimes court when his nine-year term ends next year.

Bensouda, 50, of Gambia, was appointed the ICC's deputy prosecutor in September 2004 and previously worked as a legal adviser and trial attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania.

She has long been regarded as favourite to take over from the tough-talking Moreno-Ocampo, particularly as the ICC's cases are largely focused on Africa at this time, and she has the backing of the African Union which has been critical of the ICC.

The other three on the shortlist are Britain's Andrew Cayley, a co-prosecutor in the Khmer Rouge tribunal in Cambodia, Tanzania's Chief Justice Mohamed Chande Othman, and Canadian Robert Petit, a war crimes counsel in Canada's Department of Justice.

The candidates' names were released by the selection committee of the Assembly of States Parties, which oversees the Hague-based war crimes court. The committee interviewed 8 candidates from a list of 52 before deciding on the shortlist.

ICC member states must now try to reach a consensus on one candidate, possibly by this month, followed by a formal vote at a meeting of the Assembly of States Parties in December in New York. The new prosecutor will take office next July.

Param-Preet Singh, a senior counsel at Human Rights Watch, said it was a strong shortlist.

"It's good that there is more than one African candidate. It indicates how many applications must have come from the African continent," said Singh.   Continued...

File photo of the ICC's deputy prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in Abidjan.   REUTERS/ Thierry Gouegnon
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