Fatou Bensouda – ‘People Must Have Faith in Institutions Ensuring Justice’
Former ICC Cheif Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has reiterated calls for people to have faith in institutions ensuring justice both locally and internationally.
She made these remarks as a keynote speaker under the auspices of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, at the Annual Lecture of Nelson Mandela 2021, on the theme: The Rule of Law, International Criminal Justice and its Contribution to Sustainable Development.
“As captured in the SDG 16, people around the world need to have faith in the institutions responsible for ensuring justice,” she said
She anchored that strengthening institutions, with a commitment to ensuring their independence, impartiality, and ability to achieve set mandates, must be the driving force and rationale behind coordinated policies at both domestic and international levels.
“As you know, the International Criminal Court is the world’s first permanent criminal court holding accountable those responsible for the commission of crimes of concern to the international community including genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression. Over the last two decades, it has developed a body of knowledge that addresses these questions through various opinions and jurisprudence.”
The former ICC Chief Prosecutor stresses that institutions seeking justice for victims should be shielded from political interference, resource paucity, and any other internal risks which may threaten its effectiveness and efficiency.
“While examining the relationship between international criminal justice and the broader challenges of attaining sustainable development, it is important to stress that the independent mandate of the court and its office of the prosecutor must always be respected and protected. I strongly believe that intervention by an independent and impartial court as the anchor of the international criminal justice system plays a critical role in contributing even if indirectly, towards peace, reconciliation, and reconstruction of societies recovering from the ravages of war and conflict,” she said
She said such intervention would not only support accountability and justice efforts but, in the long run, contributes to the construction of judicial and other law institutions within national legal systems ‘all of which are critical to facilitating sustainable development.