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Fatou Bensouda sworn in as ICC prosecutor

The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Friday swore in [press release] its new prosecutor, Gambian war crimes lawyer Fatou Bensouda, who will succeed Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profiles]. ICC President, Judge Sang-Hyun Song [official profile], opened the ceremony with remarks on his confidence in Bensouda's ability to strengthen the ICC's influence for international criminal justice. The floor was passed to Ambassador Tiina Intelmann [UN profile], the president of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) [official website]. In her speech [text, PDF] she explained how the ASP had elected the new prosecutor, thanked Ocampo for his dedicated work during his term and expressed her belief that the new prosecutor will follow in his footsteps. In addition, she said the member states of the Rome Statute [text] should actively support and respond promptly to cooperation requests from the ICC. After Bensouda took the oath and signed it before the ICC Registrar, she addressed [text, PDF] all parties starting with her thoughts on the four ICC staff members who are currently detained [JURIST report] in Libya. She continued with stating that the ICC needs continued support from all actors. Bensouda also mentioned that she will "look for innovative methods for the collection of evidence to bring further gender crimes and crimes against children to the Court to ensure effective prosecutions of these crimes while respecting and protecting their victims." Bensouda will take office in July 2012.

Bensouda has been Deputy Prosecutor of the ICC since 2004 and was long considered the favorite to succeed Ocampo, as many of the ICC's cases currently focus on Africa. Additionally, Bensouda has the backing of the African Union [official website], the support of which has been critical to the ICC. She was officially chosen [JURIST report] in December of last year to succeed Ocampo. Liechtenstein's UN Ambassador Christian Wenaweser, outgoing president of the ASP had announced [JURIST report] in November that he will recommend Bensouda as the sole candidate. She was one of the four candidates in the short list contained in the consensus report [text, PDF] the Search Committee for the position of the Prosecutor of the ICC [official website] submitted in October.

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