Reflections on Peace & Justice in the 21st Century: A Perspective from the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court

Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
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Mansfield College
Mansfield Road
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Sir Joseph Hotung Auditorium - please report to the lodge on arrival for directions

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Lectures and seminars
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Oxford's Faculty of Law recently established the annual Oxford Global Justice Lecture. It will be delivered each year by a leading figure in international law. The lecture series is generously supported by the Planethood Foundation. This, the first lecture, will be the first event hosted by The Bonavero Institute of Human Rights which formally opens its doors this term.

Dr Fatou Bensouda is the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). She assumed office in 2012 and is the first woman to hold the post. She was elected by consensus by the Assembly of States Parties in 2011, having been nominated and supported as the sole African candidate for the post by the African Union. Between 1987 and 2000, Dr Bensouda was successively Senior State Counsel, Principal State Counsel, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Solicitor General and Legal Secretary of the Republic, and Attorney General and Minister of Justice, in which capacity she served as Chief Legal Adviser to the President and Cabinet of The Republic of The Gambia. Her international career as a non-government civil servant formally began at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where she worked as a Legal Adviser and Trial Attorney before rising to the position of Senior Legal Adviser and Head of the Legal Advisory Unit (2002 to 2004), after which she joined the ICC as the Court’s first Deputy Prosecutor. Dr Bensouda has also served as delegate of The Gambia to, inter alia, the meetings of the Preparatory Commission for the ICC.

She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the distinguished ICJ International Jurists Award (2009), presented by the then President of India P D Patil; the 2011 World Peace Through Law Award presented by the Whitney Harris World Law Institute; the American Society of International Law’s Honorary Membership Award (2014); the XXXV Peace Prize by the United Nations Association of Spain (2015); and the Praeis Elit Award (2015). In addition to receiving several honorary doctorates, Dr Bensouda has been listed by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world (2012 & 2017); by the New African magazine as one of their Most Influential Africans; by Foreign Policy as one of their Leading Global Thinkers (2013), and by Jeune Afrique as one of 50 African women who, by their actions and initiatives in their respective roles, advance the African continent (2014 & 2015).

How does the pursuit of international criminal justice contribute towards the ends of peace? Should justice be sequenced to cater for peace processes or can a workable harmony be found to advance both these virtues?   This lecture will aim to answer these important questions, more specifically within the Rome Statute legal framework.