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Bensouda to replace Moreno-Ocampo as ICC prosecutor

Bensouda to replace Moreno-Ocampo as ICC prosecutor

Fatou Bensouda, a Gambian judge who serves as the International Criminal Court’s deputy prosecutor, has been selected to lead the Hague-based tribunal, according to several diplomats familiar with the contest.

Christian Wenawaser, Liechtenstein’s U.N. ambassador and president of the assembly of states parties to the ICC, is expected to inform a gathering of the 118-member states of the ICC treaty that Bensouda emerged today as the consensus candidate for the job.

Bensouda will replace her current boss, the Argentine lawyer Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who is scheduled to step down in the summer of 2012.

The decision follows a lengthy search process that involved more than 50 candidates for the world’s most high profile international law post. 

The search committee, including representatives from five regional groups, had narrowed the list down to four candidates, including Bensouda; Andrew Cayley, a British lawyer and co-prosecutor at the Cambodian tribunal; Robert Petit, a French Canadian counsel with the war crimes section of the Canadian Department of Justice; and Mohamed Chande Othman, the Tanzanian chief justice.

But Wenaweser told the membership on Nov. 23 that it would only be possible to reach consensus on an African candidate and that the field had been narrowed to two African candidates. Othman agreed to pull out of the race today, clearing the way for Bensouda, said diplomats. More details to come.

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