A conversation with... Fatou Bensouda, ICC Prosecutor - 2018

Dr Fatou Bensouda is the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), having taken office in 2012 as the first woman to have assumed the role. In 2011, she was elected by consensus by the Assembly of States Parties to serve in this capacity. Bensouda was nominated and supported as the sole African candidate for election to the post by the African Union. Between 1987 and 2000, Bensouda was successively Senior State Counsel, Principal State Counsel, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Solicitor General and Legal Secretary of the Republic, and Attorney General and Minister of Justice, in which capacity she served as Chief Legal Adviser to the President and Cabinet of The Gambia.

Her international career as a non-government civil servant formally began at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where she worked as a legal adviser and trial attorney before rising to the position of Senior Legal Adviser and Head of the Legal Advisory Unit (2002 to 2004), after which she joined the ICC as the court’s first Deputy Prosecutor. Bensouda has also served as delegate of The Gambia to, inter alia, the meetings of the Preparatory Commission for the ICC.

She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the distinguished International Court of Justice (ICJ) International Jurists Award (2009), presented by the then-President of India, P D Patil; the 2011 World Peace Through Law Award presented by the Whitney Harris World Law Institute, the American Society of International Law’s Honorary Membership Award (2014), the XXXV Peace Prize by the UN Association of Spain (2015), and the Praeses Elit Award (2015). In addition to receiving several honorary doctorates, Bensouda has been listed by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world (2012 and 2017); by New African magazine as one of the ‘Most Influential Africans’; by Foreign Policy as one of the ‘Leading Global Thinkers’ (2013) and by Jeune Afrique as one of 50 African women who, by their actions and initiatives in their respective roles, advance the African continent (2014 and 2015).