SA welcomes African ICC prosecutor

2011-12-13 22:45

Johannesburg - South Africa on Tuesday welcomed the election of Fatou Bensouda of The Gambia as the new chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court.

Justice deputy minister Andries Nel, who led the South African delegation at the ICC's annual meeting in New York, lauded the fact that the position will be filled by an African woman. ICC member states unanimously elected Bensouda for the main genocide and war crimes tribunal.

She will take over next June from Luis Moreno-Ocampo from Argentina. Moreno-Ocampo has held the position since 2003.

Nel congratulated Bensouda and reiterated South Africa's support for the court's struggle against impunity.

He recalled how African states were amongst the strongest proponents in ICC's establishment.

Africa remained the largest regional bloc of member states. Five of the 18 judges of the ICC are from the continent.

Bensouda, who on Monday vowed to keep up pressure on leaders who order killings and violate human rights, is a former justice minister in The Gambia.

Spokesperson for the department of international relations and co-operation, Clayson Monyela, said the ICC would during its assembly, ending December 22, fill six vacancies for judges in the court.

It would also consider reports on the functioning of the court's work and approving its budget and co-operation, he said.

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