Editorial - Global Insight, June/July 2021
On the cover of this edition of Global Insight we have one of the iconic figures of the global legal profession. Fatou Bensouda has spent almost 20 years at the forefront of international criminal justice in her roles at the International Criminal Court, first as deputy to the first-ever Chief Prosecutor and then having taken on that role herself.
Our feature benefits from exclusive access and a candid, in-depth interview that draws out the challenges involved in establishing and maintaining the Court’s position as an essential accountability mechanism for some of the world’s worst crimes. As Bensouda herself puts it, ‘the ICC is there for the benefit of humanity. It was born from the hope of a more just world.’
Meanwhile, in ‘Diversity denied is justice denied’, we have outstanding feature-length coverage of the extent to which the legal profession, like the rest of society, is wrestling with the systemic issues highlighted by the killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. Leading figures from the profession in the US, the UK and around the world make clear the enormity of the challenge ahead.
‘We know that structural barriers remain in institutions such as education, healthcare, justice and housing, which can exacerbate inequality for Black and ethnic minority people,’ says one law firm leader. ‘These barriers undoubtedly have an impact on the ability of a young person from an ethnic minority background to reach their full career potential. Although representation of Black and ethnic minority people in the legal sector has improved, and continues to improve, representation at senior levels remains low. The reasons behind this are complex, but can involve a lack of role models, a lack of connections in the profession and it is considered difficult to raise the issue of racism and racial disparities in the workplace.’
As our feature concludes, that cycle will only be broken if everyone involved in both the justice system and the wider legal profession takes action that is targeted, long-term and continues when the media spotlight inevitably becomes taken up with other issues.