PRETORIA, 10 October 2012: The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday pledged to serve the victims of genocide and war crimes.
ââ‚¬Å“Guided by the law and the principles of independence, impartiality and fairness, I will serve the victims of massive crimes in need of our support, wherever and whenever they cry for help,ââ‚¬Â Bensouda told a seminar organised in Pretoria by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).
On her first visit to South Africa since her appointment in June, Bensouda said the ICC was built upon lessons learned when the world failed to prevent previous genocides.
She said her role was particularly important where national governments did not look after the interests of victims.
The world was increasingly united by the conviction that no leader can be allowed to commit massive atrocities to gain or retain power, Bensouda told an audience of diplomats, government officials and researchers.
ââ‚¬Å“If perpetrators and potential perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide are to be deterred from committing more crimes, a strong and consistent message is required from all quarters - peace and justice can work together and the era of impunity is over.
ââ‚¬Å“The message of the Rome Statute is clear: there shall be no impunity for anyone who commits massive crimes,ââ‚¬Â Bensouda said.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) was created in 2002 by the Rome Statute as a permanent and independent judicial body to contribute to the prevention of atrocities.
Bensouda said the creation of the ICC added a permanent and independent criminal justice component to the toolbox of policy makers working towards global peace and security.
ââ‚¬Å“Largely thanks to African support, the court today is in motion, working for the millions of victims that are crying for our help,ââ‚¬Â Bensouda said.
She highlighted the support given to the court by African countries, including the referral of atrocities for investigation, pursuing and arresting people sought by the court, and protecting witnesses.
More than half of the court`s requests for cooperation are to African states, and more than 70% are met with a positive response.
Fatou Bensouda was the keynote speaker at an ISS seminar in Pretoria on 10 October 2012 hosted by the International Crime in Africa Programme titled: Setting the record straight: the ICC`s new Prosecutor responds to African concerns
Media reports on the seminar
SABC Channel Africa: Listen to the report
Business Day Live: EDITORIAL: Africa must accept the ICC
Daily Maverick: New ICC prosecutor woos the court of public opinion
Politics Web: The ICC: A response to African concerns - Fatou Bensouda
Reuters: Interview with Fatou Bensouda after the ISS seminar
AllAfrica.com: Africa: New ICC Prosecutor Woos the Court of Public Opinion
Afrika.no: Africa: New ICC prosecutor woos the court of public opinion (analysis)
Pretoria News: Two powerful women, two top courts, one dilemma
Swiss Radio broadcast 17 October 2012: Der Internationale Strafgerichtshof verteidigt sich gegen Kritik aus Afrika
Cape Times 18 October: Global and African justice set to clash
Mercury 18 October: Africa is headed for interesting times
Pretoria News 18 October: Two powerful women, two top courts, one dilemma
The Star 18 October: African politics just got more interesting
ISS Conference Room
Block C, Brooklyn Court
361 Veale Street
New Muckleneuk, Pretoria