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Gambia's Bensouda named ICC's next chief prosecutor

In this photo dated on June 27, 2011 Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Fatou Bensouda of Gambia is pictured in Abidjan.


Fatou Bensouda of Gambia was elected on Monday as next chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which tries war crimes cases from around the world.

Ms. Bensouda, 50, will succeed Luis Moreno-Ocampo of Argentina, whose term of office expires next June. She is currently Mr. Moreno-Ocampo's deputy.

Ms. Bensouda was elected without a vote at a meeting in the United Nations of the 120-nation Assembly of States Parties to the ICC, which is based at The Hague in the Netherlands. She will serve a nine-year term starting June 16.

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A search committee had identified four candidates for the job in October. The field slimmed down to two last month after the states parties decided the next prosecutor should be African, in part to counter perceptions in Africa that the ICC has focused excessively on the continent.

Diplomats said the other African candidate, from Tanzania, subsequently withdrew from the race, leaving Ms. Bensouda, who had long been the favourite, as the only contender.

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