Wednesday, Apr. 18, 2012

Fatou Bensouda

Fatou Bensouda will take office as chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on June 16. As the court's second prosecutor and the first African woman to assume the top job at an international tribunal, she faces daunting challenges in advancing the court's significant, but still fragile, progress. Her mission is to prosecute those responsible for the most serious crimes — genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity — when domestic courts and prosecutors fail. Among those accused by the court are Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif and Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony.

Bensouda, 51, brings many years of experience to the job, as a prosecutor in Gambia, on the international tribunal prosecuting Rwanda's genocidaires and as deputy ICC prosecutor for eight years. Thoughtful, soft-spoken, yet determined and forceful, Bensouda has been a leading voice pressing governments to support the quest for justice, particularly in Africa.

Roth is the executive director of Human Rights Watch