Shortlist of ICC Prosecutor Candidates

Shortlisted Candidates for ICC Prosecutor

Current ICC Deputy Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda,  co-prosecutor at the Khmer Rouge tribunal Andrew Cayley, Tanzania’s Chief Justice Mohamed Chande Othman, and Robert Petit with Canada’s Justice Department are the finalists to be the next ICC Prosecutor.

Member states party to the Court established a search committee to vet nominees for the post. Fifty-two individuals were nominated, eight of whom were interviewed by the committee before four were chosen to be on the shortlist. While Bensouda is considered the front runner and has been endorsed by the African Union earlier this summer (such endorsements carry no official weight however), each of the nominees comes with a strong background in international prosecutions and global justice.

Before joining the Khmer Rouge court, Cayley was a senior prosecuting counsel at the ICC, a defense attorney at the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, and a prosecutor at the Yugoslav court.

Othman has held several senior positions in the Tanzanian legal system, and was chief of prosecutions at the Rwanda war crimes tribunal and prosecutor general with the U.N. transitional administration in East Timor.

Petit also was a senior prosecuting trial attorney at the Sierra Leone court, a legal officer at the Rwanda tribunal and a legal adviser to the U.N. mission in Kosovo.

Bensouda is a former Gambian justice minister who also served as a senior legal adviser and trial attorney at the Rwanda tribunal.

If member states are unable to coalesce around one of the shortlisted candidates, a formal vote will take place at the 2 December 2011 meeting of the Assembly of State Parties, with a nominee needing 60 votes from among the 119 members. The new Prosecutor will take office in July 2012 and serve a 9-year term (through 2021.)
Former Secretary General Kofi Annan has spoken out against the candidates for Prosecutor engaging in political campaigns for the post. Amnesty International, the World Federalist Movement and other groups are warning about members state engaging in vote trading or similar agreements, already rumored to be emerging.

Andrew T. Cayley, who is British and currently international co-Prosecutor before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, could become ICC’s Vice-Prosecutor if Bensouda were to be elected. According to several sources, European states representatives have suggested in private that they would favor Bensouda’s nomination if the position of Vice-Prosecutor were given to a West-European candidate.


About the Author

Tony Fleming

Tony is a communications and advocacy professional with over 20 years of experience in multilateral reform advocacy and online communications.

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