The Citizen (Juba)

19 June 2012

South Sudan: Congratulations Fatou Bensouda for New Election to ICC Prosecutor

editorial

A new responsibility always goes with congratulations especially when the position is an important one such as that of the ICC Prosecutor now held by Fatou Bensouda from the African Republic of Gambia.

While Justice Bensouda had been in the profession for many years and therefore is the right qualified person to fill the vacant position left by Luis Moreno-Ocampo who sat at the desk for nine years which seemed to be short because the challenges had been enormous and he could not accomplish some of them like arresting Omer Al Bashir of Sudan and his three officials, Bensouda should have courage and take her new assignment as a servant of the world to render its people the legal services they need. Ocampo had left many indicted persons like Omer Al Bashir and his ministers and Joseph Kony of Uganda's LRA at large.

It will be a duty for Bensouda to bring these people to book for the serious crimes they have been charged of and as Ocampo had said for how many years Al Bashir and others would dodge getting arrested and be brought to justice they would one day be caught and brought to The Hague to face trial. It is understood that how long an indicted person keeps out of the ICC cell in The Hague the search for him continues and the world will one day get him.

Al Bashir has been using all sorts of abusive terms to describe Ocampo and one of the names he gave Ocampo was that he was a mosquito which would not get him but keep on making noise. For such uncivilized language used by a man who is supposed to be brave enough in the eye of the world and appear in the court to prove his innocence which he claims the ICC should open a case against him besides the crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide he had ordered and supervised in Darfur where some 300,000 people were killed.

Now that Bensouda is the ICC Prosecutor and with Al Bashir still outside ready to use uncivilized language she has to take courage because the position she is holding will make her to face a lot of challenges from him but one day Al Bashir will be in her net. As for Africa the continent should be in a celebrating mood because the world's legal institution has come to them. They should take it as a body that will render legal services to the victims of abuses of the world's people including Africans. The decision which the AU had taken in Addis Ababa not to arrest Al Bashir was a gross disrespect of the human lives of the African people in Darfur which the Sudanese President had destroyed and instead of forcing him to go to The Hague they condoned his crime by agreeing to protect him.

The AU member countries which protect Al Bashir and condone the serious crime he had committed was a step which had puzzled the world and raised questions whether the AU was driven by the powerful who had the money or they do not respect the universal human right to life. How could a man kill his own citizens and a group of leaders in AU rally behind him in spite of the serious crime he had committed? Some of the AU members gave a lame excuse when they said ICC was meant for African leaders although European leaders from the Balkan states from the former Yugoslavia were also taken to The Hague for committing massacres.

Yes if it is only African leaders like Al Bashir committing atrocities against their own people and European leaders respect law and order then the ICC can apply its legal power on the criminals. The election of Bensouda to the highest ICC post should be a blessing for Africa and not for the AU to crack on the basis of opponents who support crimes and criminals like Al Bashir and proponents who will rally behind African leaders who advocate justice for all and AU member countries free of crimes.

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