“I am working for the victims of Africa, they are African like me. That’s where I get my inspiration and my pride.”
Meet Fatou Bensouda.
Fatou is the first woman and the first African to take up the role of Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). You may not yet have heard her name. Yet, in her quiet and forceful way, she has become one of the leading global voices pressing governments to support the quest for justice, particularly in Africa. For her work, TIME magazine recently recognized her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
The daughter of a civil servant and a housewife, Fatou grew up in Banjul, the capital of Gambia, in West Africa. She graduated from the Nigerian Law School in Lagos, returning to Gambia in 1987. She then served as a prosecutor in Gambia and as the deputy ICC prosecutor for eight years. Fatou carved out a reputation in legal circles for her leadership and sound skill in investigation of atrocities, such as the Rwandan genocide and the use of child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Fatou is determined to give crimes involving sexual violence a higher profile at the International Criminal Court. She believes that the prosecution of those who systematically use rape during conflict is vital for preventing future conflict and providing justice to survivors. “I have always had aspirations about wanting to do something,” says Fatou. “But I wanted to do something for the victims, for the underdogs, and if it has to take me to this level to do that, I welcome it.”
This past September, members of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict met with Fatou in New York City. She joined the Campaign through making her own pledge: “I pledge, as Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, to do everything within my power to fight against gender crimes and crimes against children and to make the investigation and prosecution of these crimes as effective as possible.”
The Nobel Women’s Initiative offers our support to this extraordinary role model and champion of gender justice!
Check out ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s pledge for the International Campaign to Stop Rape in Conflict
Fatou Bensouda: the woman who could redeem the international criminal court, the Guardian, 14 Jun 2012.
Nobel Women welcome Fatou Bensouda: First female prosecutor at International Criminal Court, Nobel Women’s Initiative, 19 Jun 2012.
One Billion Rising: Fatou Bensouda: “There are too many victims of violence” (video), the Guardian, 1 Oct 2012.
International Court prosecutor collects evidence for new war crimes cases in Libya, the Ottawa Citizen, 10 Nov 2012.
ICC: Push justice forward, Human Rights Watch, 12 Nov 2012.
ICC prosecutor hails shift in fight against sexual violence, Voice of America, 13 Nov 2012