The new chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court explains her approach to dealing with war criminals.
They are horrendous crimes: Massacres, torture, rape, mutilation, forcing children to fight wars.
But the perpetrators who are they and how will they be held responsible? The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established ten years ago this week, to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
Its power is derived from the nations who have signed on to the so called Rome Statue, which established the ICC. Most, but far from all, nations in the world have signed on to the treaty thereby limiting its ability to act.
Until recently the ICC’s chief prosecutor was Luis Moreno Ocampo. Under him, the ICC opened investigations into seven cases, all of them in Africa. It issued arrest warrants for 20 individuals, notably Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s president. But only one suspect has been convicted so far, Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga, who was found guilty of recruting child soldiers earlier this year after a seven-year-long process.
When Ocampo’s term ended, the selection of a new chief prosecutor took on political undertones. Critics said the ICC must be faster and it must turn its attention to conflicts around the world – not just in Africa. Now, the woman who served as Ocampo’s deputy has been promoted to the top job.
Talk to Al Jazeera sits down with Fatou Bensouda, the ICC’s new chief prosecutor, to discuss how she intends to bring justice to victims of the most serious crimes in the world.
She says: “The way that ICC has been set up we do our legal part, we investigate and we request for arrest warrants to issue. This is our part. And if we do have the person brought before the court we prosecute. But the obligation to arrest, the obligation to execute the warrants of the court are with the states parties. We’ve done what we were supposed to do and I think it is up to the states parties to ensure that Omar al-Bashir is arrested and brought to the court. I think his destiny is with the ICC …. It is not yet time perhaps for Bashir, but I believe he will be arrested, eventually.”
|This episode of Talk to Al Jazeera can be seen on Al Jazeera English at the following times GMT: Saturday, July 7: 0430; Sunday, July 8: 0830, 1930; and Monday, July 9: 1430.